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ISU hosts latest 'Tuition Task Force' meeting

Tuition task force meeting at Iowa State University August 9, 2017 (Caroline Cummings).

After suffering from $30 million in total cuts from the state budget across Iowa's regent system, the Board of Regents created a "Tuition Task Force" to address tuition levels, the latest of which happened at Iowa State University Wednesday.

ISU interim president Benjamin Allen presented his five-year tuition plan to the regents, announcing that the state's land grant university would increase undergraduate tuition for in-state residents by seven percent in each of the next five years, which, if approved by the regents, would add $522 to the base tuition beginning in the fall of 2018 and rise to $684 more per year by the fall of 2022.

The proposal also set forth guidelines for nonresident undergraduates: a four percent increase. Also proposed were differential adjustments for students majoring in engineering, business and some STEM programs.

Enrollment at ISU has increased by 37 percent since 2009 but last year the school received $3,7000 less state support per student than it did in 2009, Allen told the regents.

Students have already faced tuition hikes—the Board of Regents approved a two percent increase back in December and then increased it another three percent—a five percent bump in total for the 2017-2018 academic year—when state appropriations fell short of expectations.

Students have expressed concerns with affordability and transparency, which they expressed at the ISU meeting.

"I came here with the assumption that I could afford it and pay for it myself," Cody Smith, ISU student body vice president, told the board. He is an out-of-state student who is financing his own education and chose ISU for its "world-class" programs.

He also expressed his discontent with the cancellation of the introductory Task Force Meeting, to which Governor Reynolds and other legislators were invited, scheduled for July 27 in Des Moines. Regents canceled the meeting stating lack of interest.

The next meeting will be at the University of Iowa August 14.

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