Surprise Support for Tuition Freeze

Oct 23, 2014

Several members on Iowa’s Board of Regents spoke in favor of freezing tuition for the third year in a row during today’s meeting in Iowa City. 

This came as a surprise due to a recently proposed tuition increase of approximately 1.75 percent for the 2015-2016 academic year.  The proposal came from the Iowa Board of Regents Office.

Regent Larry McKibben said he will make a motion at the December Board of Regents meeting to freeze  in-state, undergraduate tuition.  Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter and Regent Ruth Harkin said they also favor a freeze.

However, Iowa State University President Steven Leath warned the board to plan adequately for the future of the state’s universities.  

"I feel compelled to remind the board that access and affordability without quality is no bargain," Leath said. "It takes a lot of resources to maintain quality when you've grown at the rate we've grown."

Leath said ISU's student population has grown by 30 percent in recent years. 

Though several members agreed in-state tuition should be frozen, less was said about fees.  This concerned Regent Robert Downer.

"I have...had a great deal of difficulty in distinguishing between tuition and mandatory fees," said Downer. "It has seemed to me that mandatory fees are a rose by another name."

Downer said proposed fee increases particularly hurt students at the University of Northern Iowa.

UNI fees stand to increase by $68 next year. For the University of Iowa, fees will go up only $25 and at ISU just $4.50.