Iowa's House and Senate remain about $65 million apart in funding for the state's Regent universities. But Gov. Terry Branstad has a proposal that's shining a light on the end of Iowa State University Government of the Student Body President Dakota Hoben's tunnel, as reported in the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.
The Senate wants to add $34 million to the current budget and the House wants to freeze tuition and cut $31 million. Branstad said they should add $20 million.
“I think in a lot of ways students do see this as the potential light to the end of the tunnel,” Hoben said.
Branstad, supported by students, made a plea for more funding in the interest of curbing student debt at the Iowa State Fair grounds Monday.
Branstad's proposal, Iowa Board of Regents President Craig Lang said, would prevent an increase above the 3.75 percent already approved for next fall.
State support for universities has fallen 40 percent in the last decade.
The University of Northern Iowa has become a case study in the defunding of public education in Iowa suffering cuts that have led to the closing of the Price Lab school most recently.
Ron Tigner, of the ISU ambassadors program, told The Daily Iowan that legislators needed to hear from students and said ISU was in danger of becoming a private university as more and more funding comes from student tuition.
Last July, Legislator Shawn Hamerlinck, told student leaders testifying at a Senate hearing, “This is political theater, leave the circus to us,” the Quad City Times reported.
However, the students' “circus” is just beginning. The Iowa City's Daily Iowan reported that Monday's event is a kick off to a series of road shows supported by Universities for a Better Iowa, an organization founded by student government leaders of Iowa's three universities. The road show will travel to several cities including Sioux City, Mount Pleasant, Carroll, Atlantic, Dubuque and Fort Dodge this month.
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