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Iowa's Community Colleges Facing Funding Cuts

Matt Murphy
Campus walkway - Kirkwood Community College

Due to the Iowa Legislature’s statewide budget cuts, the state’s fifteen community colleges will see a $3 million decrease in funding. In this River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with three Iowa community college presidents: Des Moines Area Community College President Robert Denson, Kirkwood Community College President Mick Starcevich, and Northeast Iowa Community College President Liang Chee Wee.

Denson says reductions at DMACC include freezing seven faculty position and three staff positions, and reducing five other positions. He says they eliminated thirteen positions over the last three years. Other savings have come through attrition.

Starcevich says Kirkwood has an early retirement program that fifty employees took advantage of, and they did not replace twenty-two of them. Wee says tat NICC, the tuition increase was minimal, but he says they had to “free some positions.” He says he hopes that if the state gives some flexibility in funding options, it would mean filling in the funding gaps.

Wee says he doesn’t see the state as “giving” community colleges funding, he sees it as the state “investing” with an expectation of a return on investment. Wee says that for every dollar invested in community colleges, it’s a $6.50 return on investment.

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River