Wednesday, May 19, 2021

3.1% funding boost for community colleges, no increase for universities

(Radio Iowa) - Legislators have approved a more than 3% increase in state funding for Iowa's community colleges, but the three public universities in Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City will see no increase in state support in the next budget year. Senator Dan Zumbach, a Republican from Ryan, says two of his children who attended Iowa State University have about the same amount of college debt as his daughter who attended Wartburg.

"Folks, we need to fund these schools adequately," Zumbach said, "...but when a private school in Waverly ends up with the same amount of debt as a state-funded school in Ames, there's a problem."

Senator Eric Giddens, a Republican from Cedar Falls, says Republican legislators aren't following the spending level Governor Reynolds recommended for the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa.

"Let's do the right thing," Giddens says. "Let's support our public universities, but most importantly, let's support Iowa students and not raise tuition on them."

Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, says Republicans are downgrading the state universities.

"This isn't just some kind of enemy because you think somebody gets educated, that they might be against your party," Dotzler said. "It's about our economy and driving the businesses that we need."

Senator Brad Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale, says too many public university graduates have to learn basic skills once they land a job.

"Listen, there's going to be liberals that are going to try to indoctrinate our kids. There's going to be conservatives that try to indocrinate our kids. Just teach our kids!" Zaun said. "That's all we want."

Republicans in the Senate AND House approved the overall education spending plan last (Tuesday) night. A few budget-related decisions remain, but it's possible the 2021 legislative session may conclude Wednesday.

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