Iowa gets 'F' in college affordability - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa gets 'F' in college affordability

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - The credit crunch and failing economy are making it harder than ever for families to pay for college. Iowa is one of 49 states getting an 'F' in making college affordable.

In a report out Wednesday, the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education says income simply isn't keeping up with rising college costs. In 2000, the average Iowa family paid 23% of its income to cover tuition at a public four-year college. Today, tuition now costs 33% of an Iowa family's budget.

The Iowa Board of Regents says lowering the cost of higher education in this state is one of its top priorities. Most University of Iowa students we spoke with were surpised to hear the state is failing at making colllege affordable.

"I didn't know we were doing that bad," said Jenny Carroll, a University of Iowa junior.

Mike Curry, a senior, felt the same way. "I always considered my in-state tuition pretty affordable," he said, "but I guess being from Iowa and only having gone to Iowa, I don't have anything to compare it to."

However, Chase Baumgartner said he is feeling the pinch. "The way the economy is right now and everything, I know I'm struggling with money and a lot of my friends are struggling with money."

David Miles, President of the Iowa Board of Regents, told us tuition and fees at Iowa's three state universities are well below the national median. But he says costs are still too high.

"The burden for paying for a college education in Iowa has, over the last 20 years, moved more and more onto the students and the families." Miles blames a gradual decrease in state and federal contributions for grants and loans. He calls the "Measuring Up" report rightfully critical.

"It really is a national challenge and a national issue."

Miles says the Iowa Board of Regents will discuss strategies to make college more affordable at its meeting next week.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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