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Iowa regents to discuss tuition freeze, fee increases next week

Diane Heldt, CR Gazette –

State regents next week will consider a tuition freeze for in-state undergraduates next year and minimal increases to mandatory fees for students at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.

State Board of Regents leaders had already announced they planned to seek no increase to base tuition for resident undergraduates in 2013-14, but the proposed mandatory fee increases for all students were released Friday as part of the agenda for next week’s meeting in Iowa City. The board will discuss tuition and fees this month, with a final vote expected in December.

ISU proposes no increase to mandatory fees, while the UI proposes a $4 increase to fees and UNI proposes a $50 increase. For the UI, that’s a less than 1 percent increase, while UNI’s would be a 5 percent increase.

Resident undergraduate tuition would remain unchanged under the plan: $6,678 at the UI and $6,648 at ISU and UNI.

UI officials seek a 2.6 percent tuition increase for out-of-state undergraduates, to $25,548. UNI also seeks a 2.6 percent increase for nonresidents, to $16,144, and ISU proposes a 2.35 percent tuition increase for nonresidents, to $19,200.

Also, the UI proposes a $3,000 tuition supplement for new students entering the dentistry program beginning with the entering class of fall 2013. The proposal would be the first increment of a four-year phase in, with the money used to hire new faculty and support college programs.

Resident tuition accounts for 37 percent of tuition revenues at the UI, 41 percent of tuition revenues at ISU and 85 percent at UNI.

The regents have pledged no tuition increase next year for resident undergraduates in exchange for a 2.6 percent increase in state funding to general education at the universities.

An 2012 report released this week by Project on Student Debt showed that average student debt for 2011 public and private college graduates in Iowa was $28,753, ranking the state sixth in the nation. Iowa was third on that list last year, and state regents have said addressing high levels of student debt for public university graduates is a priority.

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