Iowa regents won’t make tuition decisions until June

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

DES MOINES (AP) — The Iowa Board of Regents isn’t expected to make a final decision on tuition increases at the state’s three public universities until June, meaning students will have only a few weeks to make financial plans before the start of the next academic year.

Presidents at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa have proposed tuition hikes ranging from 1.75 to 11.7 percent over the next five years. “I’m a first-generation college student, and navigating the finances of college has been difficult,” Vivian Le, a University of Iowa student, told the Des Moines Register. “Giving us even less time will be tough.”

For the past two years, regents have set tuition rates in December, but have had to approve additional hikes right before the start of the academic year, leading to complaints from students and their families that they had to readjust their financial planning.

Regents spokesman Josh Lehman says the board doesn’t want that to happen this time. The board is set to discuss tuition in February, but isn’t expected to make a decision for another four months, Lehman said.

“The board wanted to be deliberative and have extra time in setting tuition rates,” said Lehman.

Last year, the board created a tuition task force to address long-term funding concerns at the universities. The schools’ state funding was slashed by more than $30 million in the middle of the 2017-18 academic year.

University officials still face concerns over cuts this fiscal year due to the state revenue growth being under the projected amount.

“It’s irritating that the tuition keeps getting raised,” said Brooke Larsen, a University of Iowa student. “I wish they would set it once your freshman year and keep it at that rate all the way through school.”