Last Thursday, the Iowa Senate proposed cutting state funding mid-year for the University of Iowa by $8.7 million. The cut, if passed by the Senate and House, will force the UI to eliminate certain services. As a UI undergraduate about to graduate with a degree in economics, I am deeply disappointed by the proposed disinvestment in my institution. Iowans aspiring to attain a college degree deserve a UI that can bank on a reliable budget from the Iowa Legislature.
This proposed cut comes after years of disinvestment in the UI by the Legislature. If the cut is passed, the UI will receive the lowest level of state funding since 1996, the lowest in my lifetime. Disinvestment has caused tuition to rise drastically over time. Before the proposed cut, President Harreld indicated that tuition would need to increase by nearly 7 percent for the next five years for the UI to deliver on its commitments to Iowa; the response to the cut will mean greater tuition increases.
Students are already struggling to pay for tuition, housing, and meals (for context, a 7 percent increase in my tuition equals 96 percent of my rent for one month). The cut will make it more difficult to afford a degree, decreasing access to higher education for Iowans hoping to build their careers and contribute to their communities. Iowans across the state need to contact their legislators, letting them know that they do not support the proposed cut.
Don’t fund the UI like it’s 1996.
Jacob Simpson, Iowa City
Jacob Simpson, originally of Clinton, is president of University of Iowa Student Government.