Republican Budget Rewards ISU and UNI, Cuts UI

Apr 28, 2015

A Republican-dominated committee in the Iowa House has approved a controversial Board of Regents plan to give more money to state universities that attract more Iowa students.

It’s called performance-based funding.   

But the panel approved no money to soften the blow for the University of Iowa. 

The Regents  want a new $12 million for  Iowa State Univesrity and the University of Northern Iowa, while the University of Iowa would be held harmless. But House Republicans approved the new distribution with the money for ISU and UNI coming out of the University of Iowa’s budget. 

Cedar Falls Republican Walt Rogers favors the Regents plan.

“I'm from UNI,” Rogers jokes, adding that UI can handle the cut. “I just don't feel like they need that.” 

Rogers says UI has $750 million in cash reserves.

But Cedar Rapids Democrat Kirsten Running-Marquardt says the Regents intended to keep UI whole.

“Now we’re just removing that completely,” Running-Marquardt says.

Republican budget writers approved no inflationary raise for any of the schools.  

“I would think the tuition freeze would be off the table,” says Davenport Democrat Cindy Winckler.

Republicans agree their budget won’t cover a tuition freeze.    

The Senate education budget ignores performance-based funding.

In a written statement, Regents President Bruce Rastetter praised the House panel for approving performance-based funding. He says he’ll keep lobbying for more money.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly and the Governor to additionally ensure a modest 1.75% inflationary increase,” Rastetter says, “along with dollars to backfill the University of Iowa as a result of redistribution of performance-based funding.”