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Regents: Universities will consider no tuition increase next year

Diane Heldt, CR Gazette –

State Board of Regents leaders are urging the presidents at Iowa’s three public universities to consider no tuition increase for resident undergraduate students next year, if state funding requests are met.

Regents President Craig Lang, at Wednesday’s board meeting in Ames, said the board is asking the presidents to craft 2013-14 budgets that include tuition unchanged from this year for in-state students. The readiness on the part of the universities to sacrifice millions of dollars in additional tuition revenue shows a “sincere commitment” to Iowa’s students, Lang, of Brooklyn, said.

The board will not discuss next year’s tuition rates until its October meeting, when the three university presidents bring their proposals, but Lang made a statement at today’s meeting about the financial picture because the board today voted on its 2013-14 state funding request, to go to the Legislature in the spring.

Record fall enrollments this year at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University will help those universities if the plan is for no increase to resident undergraduate tuition, Lang said. Projected inflation rates also are expected to be low, he said.

The University of Northern Iowa saw an enrollment decline this year and will have a tougher time with no tuition increase, Lang said, but UNI President Ben Allen has stated his commitment to the idea.

The board today approved its request for a state funding increase of 2.6 percent for next year, as well as the extension for another year of an additional $4 million in state funding to help UNI with its budget challenges.

“If this is achievable, I would like the university presidents” to keep tuition rates unchanged, Lang said. “We will do our utmost to make this work with the support of the Legislature.”

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