Iowa House and Senate leaders are expressing optimism that a proposed budget for higher education will be enough to fund a tuition freeze at the Regents universities for the third year in a row. But a Regents spokesman declined to comment on the effect on university budgets until full details are released.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal says a tentative budget deal worked out last week includes a one-point-two-five percent increase for the Regents schools.
“I think that is the view that these are enough resources to avoid a tuition increase,” Gronstal says. “They should see a tuition freeze. If that’s a Regents priority then they should see it.”
But the proposed spending is less than what the Governor proposed to cover the freeze. Also, the budget deal would give the universities a one-time raise, instead of building the increase into future budgets.
“It’s my understanding they could probably live with that,” says Coralville Democrat Senator Bob Dvorsky. “So we’ll see. We hope the Regents will carefully look at it.”
Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says it’s up to the Regents to freeze tuition, regardless of the state appropriation.
“If that’s a Regents priority then they should see it,” says Paulsen.
Governor Branstad’s budget included a one-point-seven-five percent increase in appropriations for the universities to cover the proposed freeze.
The proposed higher education budget is part of a tentative budget agreement reached by House and Senate negotiators last week.
The legislature is striving toward adjournment after missing the May 1st target date.