Gov. Kim Reynolds signed 23 bills into law on Wednesday, one of which will cut $10.9 million from the fiscal 2018 budgets of the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.
In a press release from the Governor’s Office, Senate File 2117 was among those Reynolds signed.
The bill passed the Iowa House, 59-41, on March 20, and it passed the Iowa Senate, 28-21, on March 21.
Following the passage of the bill in the Legislature, UI President Bruce Harreld issued a statement with the deans of each college and other campus leaders saying their respective units would recommend places to cut funding on campus, as well as areas to increase revenue.
In order to achieve the UI’s goal of promoting student success, bringing in new talent, and hiring the best employees, Harreld said in the statement, tuition will need to be raised following the funding cuts.
“Requesting a tuition increase from the Board of Regents is not an action that the university takes lightly; however, it is now necessary in light of this continued generational disinvestment,” the statement said.
The state Board of Regents has delayed discussing tuition at Iowa’s universities until April.
The UI Student Government also issued a statement from UISG President Jacob Simpson and UISG Vice President Lilián Sánchez after the bill passed the Legislature.
In the statement, UISG said it understands the university will have to raise tuition to make up for the funding cuts, but the university must find a way to keep student debt low and increase graduation and retention rates.
In the UISG statement, it said 14 percent of students from the fall of 2016 to the spring of 2017 did not return to the UI the following year, primarily for financial reasons. In 2016, a UI survey showed 52 percent of students often worry about their financial situations, the statement said, and 65 percent of in-state students graduated with debt in 2016.
“The data are clear: there are a significant number of students who struggle to afford their education at the UI, and students do not graduate at an acceptable rate,” the statement said.
— Kayli Reese