UNI moves forward despite large cut in state funds - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNI moves forward despite large cut in state funds

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

Iowa's three state universities are preparing to move forward with deep cuts in their budgets for 2012. The hardest hit maybe the University of Northern Iowa which depends more on state funds than Iowa and Iowa State.

UNI had $2.8 million dollars cut from their general fund, along with an addition of a one time loss of almost $1.5 million in funding with a grand total of $4.3 million.

Choosing a college can be a difficult decision. Madeleine Hoofnagle, a junior at NU High hopes to attend the University of Northern Iowa after she graduates, but talk about budget cuts has raised some concerns.

"I'm worried that some of the classes that they offer are going to have to be cut because of this," said Hoofnagle.

"Our focus has always been, as you well know here, it's a student first institution," said University of Northern Iowa President, Ben Allen.

President Allen says cutting classes is what he wants to avoid during these tough times.

"We will protect the student. We will be sure to maintain quality programs, that we do not reduce their time to graduation and that we will not touch financial aid," said Allen.

Another reason UNI is hurting a little more than Iowa and Iowa State is the fact they don't get as many out of state students to attend UNI which brings in more money. Local students who live nearby and hope to one day come to UNI say that's a main deciding factor when they choose a college.

"That's why I can't go to an out of state to college because we can't pay for it anymore. We used to be able to, but now the cost of colleges is going up and up and I worried about it," said Hoofnagle.

"We're always trying to figure out how to meet the budget deficit as opposed to how to invest in new opportunities in a new major a new area of research. It's frustrating because the forgone opportunities for us to help our students and help the state of Iowa. I think that's the largest frustration," said Allen.

Since 2000, UNI's state funds have been cut seven times and is now at funding levels last seen in the mid-90's.

To help make up for the loss, UNI will be increasing tuition by five percent.

School officials are expecting around 13,300 students to attend UNI this fall.

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