Investing in education important for Iowa’s economy, future
Iowa is recovering from the national recession faster than other states. Now, as we are soon to finalize the annual state budget, legislators have to face the issue of investing in Iowans and grow our economy or cut economic development, cut education and increase costs for middle-class Iowa families. It is the intent of the Senate to invest in Iowa’s public universities. Taking action now to keep college affordable is important to Iowa families and our economy.
I wonder if the public is aware that Iowa is investing less in our universities in 2012 than any year since 1996? The state share of college tuition costs reached a peak of 77 percent in 1981. Now, the state covers only 40 percent. State funding per student at Iowa State University and the University of Iowa has fallen by $5,000, and at the University of Northern Iowa by $2,700 since 1990. Tuition has risen, and that’s why Iowa student debt is among the highest in the nation.
Our universities are keeping costs down by becoming increasingly efficient, but that only goes so far. Consider the painful cuts being imposed at UNI despite the fact that the school has the highest percentage of in-state students. It also is a national center for improved teaching, and the most important source of Iowa teachers.
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