FILE - The University of Iowa Campus looking west from Old Capitol and the Pentacrest.

Guest Opinion: I love Iowa, but this has gone far enough

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My name is Grant Jerkovich, and I’m an Iowa resident. I grew up in Council Bluffs and have spent the last eight years in Iowa City. As a soon-to-be young pharmacist, it is disheartening to see the lack of support for higher education in the U.S., but Iowa for a long time seemed insulated from this troubling trend. However, our legislators have made it clear that it is simply not a priority of theirs. As we re-create our own version of the 2012 Kansas tax-cut experiment, the budget will get smaller, the state’s contributions for its universities will continue to get smaller, and tuition will rise. Soon, affordable resident tuition will simply be a memory, as it is for most Americans.

This, combined with other troubling legislation, has made Iowa appear less and less appealing every year. The state is investing in corporations, not people. It is unfortunate that we have gotten to the point where regent universities are not even asking for more funds but simply asking to keep what we have.

This is all coming from someone who loves Iowa. I love the people; I love the culture; I even love the weather (most of the time). I have advocated for Iowa my entire life. I was one of three Iowa students in my class at high school, Creighton Prep, in Omaha. My first year there was the first time I heard someone make fun of my state. Nowadays, I’ve heard those comments from just about anyone outside the state and more than a few on the inside. And every time, I talk about why Iowa is a treasure, I talk about the sincerity of its people, and I talk about its resident tuition.

No joke; I consider that the greatest thing about Iowa. It’s top-notch education at a bargain price. It is the crown jewel of this state. Although no university wants to bear the title of “bargain college,” it is undeniable. My next best option for presumably the same quality of education would have cost me $80,000 more for undergrad alone.

My pharmacy degree would have cost me another $100,000. That is just insane and so underappreciated by the average Iowan. That is $180,000 that I did not have to owe because the state invested in me. An investment it has made for every Iowan graduate of the regent schools. Now it is chipping away at that investment as sure as day. What kind of message is that sending?

  Grant Jerkovich

Vice President UI Graduate & Professional Student Government

 

#NoFundingNoFuture

As the UI seeks funding from the state Legislature for its fiscal 2019 appropriations request and faces the possibility of more midyear budget cuts, the DI will publish informational pieces and pieces from UI community leaders highlighting the value of higher education and calling for advocacy. Continue checking daily-iowan.com as Iowa’s universities face this critical issue.

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