Regents Presidents Plead for Funds

Feb 11, 2016

The presidents of Iowa’s three regents universities today made their annual trip to the state capitol, imploring lawmakers to increase funding for the universities by over $20 million. 

That far exceeds the governor’s recommendation.     

Governor Branstad’s budget includes $8 million to be shared among the three universities.  

President Steven Leath seeks more than $8 million for ISU alone.

He says state funding has fallen, while enrollment has soared.

“I believe we are now at a tipping point in terms of support for the tremendous demand we have at Iowa State.”

UNI president Bill Ruud seeks an increase of more than $7.5 million.  He says it’s needed to beef up recruitment and increase financial aid, which he says is lower at UNI than at the other Regents schools.

The University of Iowa seeks $4 million in part to increase faculty salaries.

“The core of an institution like ours is not only outstanding students,” said University of Iowa President   Bruce Harreld.   “It’s also outstanding faculty, teaching, doing scholarship, doing research.”

Harreld told lawmakers the university has lost over a hundred faculty over the last decade, many lured away by competitive salaries elsewhere.  

Chief Senate Education Budget writer Democrat Brian Schoenjahn called the Regents’ requests reasonable though under his budget targets the full ask appears unlikely.      

Senate minority leader Bill Dix implied the funds the Regents seek will not be approved.     

He says budget writers have a limited amount of new dollars to appropriate.

“At this point in time, I don’t think that that entirely would fit inside the increase,” Dix said.