News that scholarships will be rescinded for students at the University of Iowa because of state budget cuts sparked controversy at the statehouse Thursday.
Democrats are blaming Republicans for a bill that cut $8 million from the UI budget for this year.
News came to UI families in a letter from President Bruce Herrald.
“This devastating cut has forced us to consider every expenditure,” Herrald said.
Some 2500 students will see their financial aid packages reduced by an average of more than $1700 for the school year that starts in the fall.
“This affects current students, it affects incoming students,” said Senate Minority Leader Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids.) “I've already heard from multiple constituents of mine about the exasperation that families are feeling because of these cuts.”
Hogg urged majority Republicans to restore the university’s mid-year cuts.
Republicans blamed the cuts on excessive spending by Democrats in the past, and questioned the UI’s decision.
"The University of Iowa had choices while dealing with the deappropriations bill the legislature was legally required to implement,” said Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock). “It is unfortunate the University of Iowa chose a path which broke promises made to students who are residents of Iowa."
“It’s very disappointing that the University of Iowa is choosing to play politics with scholarships and the lives of parents and students,” said House Speaker Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake).
"I hope that this is, as many have stated, in fact a temporary situation," President Herrald told the Board of Regents.
Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa told the Board they plan to absorb the cuts with deferred maintenance, reducing travel, and keeping positions open.