UNI's President Says Tuition Increase Amounts to Depend on State Support

Aug 7, 2017

In the first of three meetings to be held this month by Iowa’s Regents institutions, University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook Monday unveiled UNI’s five year tuition plan. Nook told a group of about 50 people on the UNI campus that in order to attract and retain students, any increases must be reasonable and predictable.

“This 1.7 percent [state appropriation] growth while we grow our enrollment from 11,900 to 12,350 is an extremely conservative approach,” Nook said.  “Our costs are going to go up faster than that and then we want to look at what that means for our tuition but that depends so critically on our state support.”

Earlier this year, the regents created a Tuition Task Force, and charged each of the three public universities with developing a five-year tuition plan.  Details of UNI’s plan were released Monday, Iowa State’s will be unveiled on Wednesday, and the University of Iowa will release its plan next Monday.  The work of the Task Force is designed to help regents and the state universities plan ahead for tuition changes and avoid last-minute increases.

Nook explained because tuition is dependent on state appropriations, if the appropriation increases at 1.75% per year, UNI will be able to hold tuition increases fairly low. A statement from UNI said in that case, tuition would rise, “at an annualized rate of 2.5 percent though fiscal year 2022”. However, Nook says, if state support does not keep pace with inflation, tuition will be significantly higher.

UNI's tuition increase scenarios based on various levels of state appropriations.
Credit Source: University of Northern Iowa

“What we’re looking at it maintaining a budget that increases at not greater than the consumer price index,” he said.  “We’ve seen from 2008 until today that we’ve been running under that a bit. Our real goal is to return to a sort of inflation adjusted 2008 level for our total budget and have an enrollment that matches pretty closely to what we had in 2008.”

Nook says it’s important potential students find value in Iowa’s universities because if they don’t, they will likely leave the state.