Education Budget Chief: No Tuition Freeze Next Year

Jan 26, 2016

The head of education spending in the Iowa Senate has dim hopes for increased funding for the state universities next year, and he predicts the Regents will not be able to freeze tuition.    

Governor Branstad’s budget includes 8 million new dollars for the universities, with the Board of Regents deciding how to divide it up among the three schools.    

But Arlington Democrat Brian Schoenjahn says that should be the legislature’s job.

“I think we are the ones who talk to universities,” Schoenjahn says.   “The university presidents have been in close contact with me.  I know their needs.” 

Schoenjahn says UNI has been traditionally underfunded, ISU needs more money to cover increased enrollment, and the U of I’s new president says more money is needed to keep faculty salaries competitive.

The Regents requested 19 million dollars.   Schoenjahn predicts that won’t be met.

Senate Appropriations Chair Democrat Bob Dvorsky agrees it should be the legislature’s job, not the Board of Regents, to decide how much money each university should receive.

“There are separate and equal branches of government,” Dvorsky says. “Regents are the executive branch, so we’re not going to do that.   We will apportion it out, any increase.”

Last year the governor item-vetoed a bill that spelled out different amounts for the three universities instead of appropriating a lump sum.    The legislature rejected a Regents proposal to appropriate money based in part on how many Iowa students each university enrolls.