DES MOINES, Iowa — The presidents of Iowa’s three state universities are asking the governor for money to help fund more financial aid for undergraduate students, but stagnant tax revenue could make additional spending unlikely.
The university presidents requested a total of $12 million on Tuesday, the Des Moines Register reported . Iowa State University and the University of Iowa each requested $5 million to help in-state students, while the University of Northern Iowa asked for $2 million.
State funding at the universities was slashed by more than $30 million this year.
The requests come after Gov. Kim Reynolds cautioned that the state may face another tight budget next year. But she said she’s committed to working with the universities to provide quality education. The universities also requested $40 million for major campus construction projects.
University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld said his school was “working hard to balance increased tuition with effectively directed financial aid.” He said about 50 percent of freshman at the school take out a loan their first year, but that 45 percent of graduates have no debt as they exit.
Harreld said additional funding would help reduce student debt even more.
Wendy Wintersteen, Iowa State University’s new president, said her school would use the requested funding to bolster its completion-grants program that offers aid to people ineligible for student loans. Such students often have borrowed the full amount allowed and need only a few credits to graduate.
At the University of Northern Iowa, more than 90 percent of students are from Iowa. The university relies on out-of-state students who pay higher tuition to balance its budget. President Mark Nook said officials at the school want to increase enrollment, but not at the loss of Iowa students.