University of Iowa is an educational institution and much
more. Its a $1.6 billion enterprise with roughly 15,000 employees.
Through the Universitys teaching and research, the faculty,
staff, and students contribute to the knowledge base on which our
future quality of life and economic prosperity depend. The University
produces educated citizens for the workforce of Iowa and throughout
the world. A central and highly leveraged component of funding for
this educational enterprise is student tuition.
payments for the Universitys undergraduate, graduate, and
professional students produce about 9 percent of the Universitys
total revenues. Appropriations from the State of Iowa are a little
more than double that of tuition and together with tuition form
the core support of the University. The University also is awarded
research grants and contracts from outside governmental, business,
and industrial entitieslast year this was $260 million. This
also provides opportunities for undergraduates to participate in
research experiencessomething to which President Coleman is
strongly committed. Finally the University is composed of many supporting
entities that contribute to the overall educational mission, such
as the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Mens and
Womens Athletics, Student Housing, and the Iowa Memorial Union.
President and Treasurer Douglas True is heavily involved in financial
aspects of the University. Parent Times asked True and other administrators
to describe how tuition dollars are spent and how tuition revenue
relates to other sources of revenue in achieving the educational
experiences sought by University of Iowa students.
Lets start with tuition. Where does it go?
The first thing you should know is that about $19 million from tuition
revenues goes directly back to students in the form of financial
aid. The University of Iowa has a long-standing commitment to increase
student financial aid in proportion to tuition increases. The remainder
of tuition revenues is combined with state appropriations in the
General Education Fund and supports the core educational expenses
of the University.
sorts of expense items would come out of tuition?
The General Education Fund amounted to almost
million in fiscal year 1999-2000. State appropriations and tuition
revenue were almost entirely the sources of this amount. These dollars
support faculty in the classrooms and laboratories as well as maintenance
of our academic buildings and libraries, purchase of instructional
equipment, and utilities such as heat, lighting, and air conditioning.
A substantial portion of the General Education Fund supports salaries
of those who are engaged in the education of our students. The University
is dependent on the state to fund these salary expenses; however,
to the degree it does not, the amount of tuition revenue available
for quality education initiatives is diminished.
year, an increase in the amount of tuition for both in-state and
out-of-state students was authorized. What happens when tuition
is increased? Do students have any input in that decision?
Students are involved in the decision. It is important to note that
the Board of Regents, State of Iowa sets tuition for The University
of Iowa each fall after listening to student input at two successive
monthly board meetings. Prior to the board considering tuition policy,
the President and others within the University administration interact
and consult with student government leaders to listen to their concerns
and to discuss the ways in which tuition can be used to advance
educational goals of the students. Likewise, after tuition policy
is set, the University administration is committed to work with
student leaders to communicate how the entire General Education
Fund is spent. A couple of months ago a full-page ad was placed
in the Daily Iowan identifying the uses of the General Education
Fund dollars and the initiatives that had been proposed and would
be initiated. Student government and the Universitys administration
cosponsored this ad.
did the University request tuition increases this year?
Part of the increase covers inflation. The Regents increased tuition
by 4.3 percent with 2.3 percent as a result of inflation costs.
The remainder, 2 percent this year, is intended for improving the
quality of instruction and other academic benefits for students.
However, the degree to which the University can maintain this commitment
is a function of the state support the University receives.
Board of Regents, State of Iowa, also approved a new fee to support
student services in lieu of paying for these services from tuition.
Can you explain the Universitys objectives?
The University had been supporting a number of non-academic student
activities and services from tuition revenue. These included student
government-sponsored activities, recreational services, Cambus,
and the Iowa Memorial Union. In keeping with practices at other
Big Ten universities, the proposal approved by the Regents was to
create a separate fee for these services and to redirect tuition
revenue to support academic programs of great value to students.
With these redirected funds, President Coleman is committed to increasing
the librarys operating hours, enhancing the instructional
equipment budget, increasing student financial aid, and establishing
a program to improve students writing skills and writing experiences
throughout the curriculum.
we the lowest in the Big Ten in fees, too, as we have been for years
Yes, we are, and some others are substantially higher than The University
of Iowa. The University of Illinois charged $1,146 in fees in 1998-1999,
the last year for which figures are available. In that year, the
University of Minnesota charged $616 and the University of Wisconsin
charged $406. Our fees were $202 in that year, and with the fee
proposal recently approved by the Regents, the University will remain
the least costly in the Big Ten.
beginning to sound like a tradeoff. You pay more in tuition and
fees elsewhere, but you gain access to newer technology and buildings
and more educational advantages.
It is a tradeoff, but the University offers a very high value to
its students. The University of Iowa strives continuously to maintain
the balance between affordable tuition and accessibility to students
versus the demands of our constantly changing learning environment
and competition from the best higher education institutions in the
United States. Historically the University has been extraordinarily
efficient and the State of Iowa has been helpful by supporting appropriations
for the University General Education Fund, enabling the University
to achieve what it could not with tuition alone. However, there
are limits to the Universitys ability to prosper through educational
efficiency alone. While the University continues to attract world-renowned
faculty, it is increasingly difficult to stave off the attempts
by other universities to attract our distinguished faculty with
promises of greater salaries, larger equipment budgets, and more
space that is better equipped. This is our challenge and it is one
we must meet.
about private funding? We are just in the early phases of a comprehensive
fundraising campaign for The University of Iowa.
Private funding is increasingly important to state universities
like The University of Iowa. President Mary Sue Coleman is aggressively
promoting private funding and spending considerable time communicating
to donors what the University can do with private support. While
the central, vital educational support for the University remains
state appropriations and tuition, the contributions of generous
donors allows the University to achieve a level of excellence that
is otherwise unattainable.
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