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CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
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Iowa City IA 52242
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e-mail: melvin-shaw@uiowa.edu

Release: Feb. 26, 2001

UI, UNI, and ISU student government voice opposition to budget cuts

IOWA CITY-- Student government leaders from the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa, and Iowa State University traveled to the state capitol today, Feb. 26, to "clearly communicate to legislators that students won't stand for further reductions" to the budgets of the three state universities.

In a statement released jointly by the Regents student body leaders, the unified group said it would speak during a 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. hearing to be led by Senate Democrats. The students are to speak again at 6 p.m. during a public hearing to be led by House Democrats.

"The UI, UNI, and ISU are already coping with underfunding by the state legislature that last year resulted in delays to scheduled improvement projects and the postponement of hiring faculty and staff in critical areas," student government leaders said.

In fall 2000, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, increased tuition and fees at the three public universities by almost 10 percent for the 2001-02 school year, trying to make up for the loss in state funding, the group said.

"Some members of the legislature are determined to pay for their tax cuts by forcing gigantic tuition increases on students already struggling to pay for their education," said Chris Linn, vice president, UI Student Government. "Not only are they bankrupting our state treasury, but they're undermining one of the best education systems in the nation."

The students say they are concerned that the Legislature's recommended deappropriations, taking place halfway through this fiscal year, will negatively affect educational quality and student access to education.

"The proposed deappropriations, on top of an already insufficient budget, will make it more difficult for the average Iowan to afford a quality education at a state university," said Andy Stoll, president, UISG.

"The average student is already borrowing nearly $20,000 to get their degree at a state university while the per capita income in Iowa is only $26,000. How much more does the Legislature want students and their families to give?" Stoll said.

The Regents' universities are an incredible resource for students and every Iowan who benefits from the schools' services, research and outreach programs, the student groups said.

The representatives from the UI, UNI, and ISU say they also will express their concern about next year's budget allocations. On Wednesday, Feb. 28, Sara Stephenson, UISG executive, will lead a delegation of students to the capitol to again advocate for next year's budget and publicly support Gov. Tom Vilsack's budget recommendations. The students say the Wednesday trip is being planned to head-off another "unreasonable increase" by making sure the state provides the Regents schools with adequate resources next year.