Nine of the top 10 occupations with the highest number of total annual openings in Iowa that need a baccalaureate or higher degree, according to Iowa Workforce Development, line up directly to key programs at UNI, including education and business degrees. With 90 percent of UNI students from Iowa, 85 percent of them staying in the state after they graduate to work or continue their education and approximately 50 percent of non-residents who graduate from UNI staying in Iowa and contributing to our skilled workforce, UNI educates Iowans for Iowa.
UNI’s fiscal year 2021 budget request to the Governor and the Iowa Legislature is for an additional $4 million to our general aid base funding. UNI remains an excellent value for the citizens of Iowa. However, UNI has limited tuition flexibility; our tuition is near the median of our peers and above the median of regional competitors. UNI needs state appropriations to keep costs low for Iowa students and their families. Because of last year’s $4 million increase in state appropriations, UNI was able to freeze tuition increases for students this academic year. With an additional $4 million in state appropriations in fiscal year 2020, UNI will continue to hold tuition flat.
Building our enrollment back to levels that are in line with our facilities and the needs of the state will continue to be a focus for UNI. We are working to define and promote the attributes of UNI that make us distinctive as a regional comprehensive public university focused on the success of our students. UNI’s four-year graduation rate has increased by 15 percentage points over the last 18 years. The vast majority of UNI students complete their degrees in five years or less.
While the university remains committed to its history in teacher preparation, the impact of UNI extends well beyond these roots. Our excellent programs in business, sciences, the arts and education prepares students to work and contribute in every employment sector across Iowa and provide a meaningful contribution to the state. And while our core focus remains on undergraduate education, we also provide strong graduate programs that continue to attract students in all stages of life.
UNI is focused on providing a high-quality education while managing costs to students and taxpayers. UNI built a five-year budget model based on the university’s FY 08 budget. UNI will manage a slow and steady enrollment increase, continue to look for cost savings and efficiencies and keep our expenses at the Consumer Price Index of 1.75 percent. Though this budget anticipates an increase in out-of-state enrollment, UNI will not back away from the commitment to enroll at least the same percentage of Iowa high school graduates who attend the university.