Regents considering 3.75% tuition hike at state universities - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Regents considering 3.75% tuition hike at state universities

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

Just one day after President Obama announced a plan for helping students pay off college loans, Iowa's three state universities are looking to hike tuition and fees.  The Iowa Board of Regents met Thursday in Cedar Falls and discussed raising the cost of education nearly four percent.  It's smaller than last year's six percent increase, but it's one that's still tough for students to take.

Enrollment continues to climb at the University of Northern Iowa, and so does the cost of getting an education at the school and Iowa's other state colleges.

"It is expensive, like you've got to take out a lot of loans.  Thankfully I don't have to live on campus but I know for people that live on campus, it's really difficult," UNI student Jacob Ludwig said.

As education gets tougher to afford, students like Ludwig are forced to take on even more loans. That debt will just keep growing if the Iowa Board of Regents agrees to hike tuition and fees again next year.  It's concerning for students, who worry they'll have a hard time paying back extra loans if they can't find a job after graduating.

"I mean it looks like I will pick up a job waiting tables or something after school if I can't get a job.  So hopefully that'll allow me to pay off my school loans," UNI student Forest Huff said.

"Hopefully with all the effort I've put into this, I'll be able to get a good job and it will eventually pay if off.  But I mean for people that can't get a job out of school, it definitely hurts them in the long run," Ludwig said.

The Board of Regents says it understands the growing burden for students.  That's why each university has been trimming costs to limit tuition increases.

"We have worked all along with the strategy to enhance revenue whenever we can and increase efficiencies wherever we can.  We continue to work on those strategies and we continue to save money pretty consistently across the board," University of Iowa President Sally Mason said.

But some students say more belt tightening is needed to keep tuition flat so that they're still able to afford a quality education.

Tuition and fee increases for next year aren't set in stone yet.  The Board of Regents will be voting on the proposed hikes at its December meeting.

The Board of Regents is opting to table a proposed increase for graduate student fees.  That's the result of some University of Iowa graduate education students contesting the increase before the board Thursday.

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