Report Finds Iowa Regent University funding down substantially - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Report Finds Iowa Regent University funding down substantially

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

University of Iowa sophomore Jared Micho is concerned about the rising cost of his education.

"I think it's really expensive, especially having to pay it by yourself.  It's just too much," he said.

Rising tuition and fees have forced Micho to take on a job.

"It's taken away from my study time," he said.

A report released by the Iowa Policy Project finds increased tuition and university program cuts are a direct result of a trend in decreased state funding that started well before the recent recession.  

The report finds when inflation is factored in taxpayer money for Iowa's three public universities has dropped by 40% since 2000.

Students are carrying much of the burden.  Student tuition has increased 75% in the last 12 years, now overtaking state dollars as the primary revenue source for Iowa's universities.

"Iowa is not alone in this trend of decreased state funding for public universities.  This is a nationwide trend," said Andrew Cannon, a researcher with Iowa Policy Project.

Since the turn of the century, legislators are allocating a greater percentage of the tax dollars to K-12 education, and substantially less to the three Regent universities.

"For a long time, our legislators have recognized the broad public benefits that accumulate from funding public education, and perhaps we've lost sight of that," Cannon said.

The governor's office says it inherited a budget mess but is now on firm financial ground.

Governor Branstad is asking lawmakers to approve an additional $20 million for higher education.

"Governor Branstad chose the Regents as just one of the handful of actual priorities in Government that will see increased funding," said Tim Albrecht, communication director for the governor's office.

Democrats are pushing for an even greater increase.

"We can afford a $34 million increase.  The problems that are happening at the University of Northern Iowa are directly related to the legislature essentially starving these institutions and not providing them the resources they need," said Joe Bolkcom, (D)-Iowa City.

For students like Micho, help is needed, especially with many more years at the university on the horizon.

"Costs going up here just take away what I can pay for grad school," Micho said.

 

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