Branstad calls for reducing college costs - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Branstad calls for reducing college costs

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 Gov. Terry Branstad called Tuesday for the state's public universities to reduce tuition costs by implementing a number of changes.

Branstad said he wants to challenge the universities to offer some bachelor degree programs to Iowa residents for $10,000 in tuition. That can be done for students through a combination of online courses, college credits earned while in high school and some on-campus learning, he said.

Acknowledging the bargain degrees might be limited in scope, Branstad also said he wants to see price cuts for bachelor's degrees in other disciplines, calling for discounted tuition in at least half the majors at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa.

Annual resident tuition at Iowa State and Iowa is roughly $8,000.

Branstad, a Republican seeking re-election, outlined his plan at a campaign event at Drake University and Iowa State.

He didn't offer an estimate on the state cost, noting there may be ways to pay for this through other savings.

Branstad also proposed reducing student debt through a tax credit program in which businesses could be given tax breaks if they donate to charities designated as "student debt reduction organizations." Those charities could use the money to help graduates pay down college debt if they volunteer for the organizations.

Board of Regents spokeswoman Sheila Doyle Koppin declined comment.

Branstad's Democratic opponent Jack Hatch earlier released a college affordability plan, which included offering accelerated degree programs and creating a state loan fund to provide low-interest college borrowing options.
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