FILE - Iowa Board of Regents President Michael Richards listens to a speaker during a Board of Regents meeting on Thursday June 8, 2017. (The Daily Iowan/Nick Rohlman)

After delaying tuition vote for months, regents approve increases for Iowa’s university students


Tuition increases for undergraduates will be under 4 percent for the 2018-19 academic year.

By Emily Wangen

CEDAR FALLS — Tuition rates are set for the 2018-19 academic year after a unanimous vote by the state Board of Regents at the University of Northern Iowa on June 7.

After a six-month delay, the regents first read the new rates during their April meeting in Council Bluffs. At the University of Iowa, there will be a 3.8 percent increase for residents and 2.1 percent increase for nonresident undergraduate students, for a base total of $7,770 and $29,736, respectively. Rates for graduate students would also increase.

The rates have not changed since their first reading, and the regents engaged in little discussion on June 7.

Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa will see a 3.8 and 2.8 percent increase in resident tuition rates and 4 percent and 1.2 percent increase in nonresident tuition, respectively.

The combined tuition increases among the three regent universities are expected to generate $24.9 million in incremental revenue for fiscal 2019.

“Iowans need to understand that this is probably the low side of tuition in the future in the next years to come if we do not get anymore governance support from the state of Iowa,” Regent Larry McKibben said during the meeting. “I know that that’s going to be a major item in the campaign that comes up this year.”

While McKibben voted in favor of the tuition increases, he said this has been the worst attack on the three universities from the state government.

“One of the things I’m trying to say to the state of Iowa and the citizens of the state of Iowa is we have to do better in the support of these universities,” McKibben said.

Student government leaders from each of the regent universities — Iowa State University, the UI, and the University of Northern Iowa — as well as some regents have previously expressed concern about the rising tuition and its potential effects on students.

“As our tuition increases to cover the decreasing contribution of the Legislature, it becomes more difficult for students to afford their education and succeed from the moment they step on campus the first time to the moment they graduate,” Former UISG President Jacob Simpson said during the regents’ April meeting.

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UI leaders and the regents have been working for nearly a year to set tuition rates with the goal of achieving transparency and predictability for students and their families.

During the regents’ Feb. 22 meeting in Ames, Regent President Mike Richards said they intend to release a range of baseline tuition increases for the next five years or so. In August, UI President Bruce Harreld announced a tuition plan that included 7.08 percent increase in resident and 2.08 percent nonresident undergraduate tuition each year over the next five years.

In a May interview with The Daily Iowan, Harreld noted that this plan did not look at any other sources of revenue besides tuition.

“It didn’t look at new programs we might add into the system to create new revenue,” he said. “It didn’t look at philanthropy. It didn’t look at a whole host of other things.”

Along with tuition, students will see an increase an $18 increase in mandatory fees, along with increases in technology and recreation fees. The recreation fee will be increased to meet the debt-service schedule for the UI Campus & Recreation Wellness Center financial plan. Engineering students will see an extra 0.8 percent increase in technology fees alongside the current proposal.

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