Regents propose in-state tuition freeze for Iowa's universities - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Regents propose in-state tuition freeze for Iowa's universities

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

The Iowa Board of Regents is considering a plan to freeze in-state tuition rates at Iowa's public universities. Board members unveiled the plan at their regular meeting Wednesday in Ames. It comes after years of tuition hikes at University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and University of Northern Iowa.

Savannah Robinson is paying more than $7,600 in tuition at University of Northern Iowa this year.

"It keeps my mother up at night. Because she's always worried about how I'm paying for school," said Robinson.

Ten years ago, she would have spent about $4,000 for the same degree. Much like other state universities, tuition at UNI has jumped 85% in just one decade.

The Board of Regents said Wednesday -- that's high enough, proposing a freeze on in-state tuition at all three Iowa universities.

"It's kind of like, a sigh of relief," said Robinson.

Students like Robinson are excited about the proposal, but it's not clear what this means for UNI's budget. Spokesperson James O'Connor said that's something they'll have to determine as they review the plan. He did note, tuition is a big part of the university's budget. But on the other, access to education is key.

State Senator Bill Dotzler said, many legislators are concerned about the challenge of paying for higher education.

"As tuition rates get higher and higher, we really price out our young people from getting that education they really need," Dotzler said.

The proposal would require a 2.6% boost in state funding, about $14.3 million. Dotzler said that's something he'd support.

"The Iowa Legislature needs to help step up and make sure when a student graduates, they don't have 40, 70, 80,000 worth of student loans," he said.

Without a tuition freeze, Robinson may not see graduation day.

"If it goes up, I might not be able to afford to come back next year. It's a scary feeling," she said.

That's exactly what the Board of Regents is trying to prevent.

Board of Regents also approved a committee to help find the next University of Northern Iowa president Wednesday. The committee consists of 23 people-- including university professors, board members and a few members of the public.

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