Tuition Differentiation

Holding Down Student Debt - $4 million new appropriation to hold tuition flat

As Iowa’s only public comprehensive university, UNI focuses on providing access to a transformative educational experience to a predominantly low- to moderate-income student profile, as nearly 30 percent of UNI undergraduates receive the federal Pell Grant. UNI will ensure its continuing commitment to quality, affordability and access for Iowans. Ninety percent of UNI undergraduates come from Iowa, representing all 99 counties.

UNI is asking the Iowa Legislature to provide an additional $4 million in state funding to support access and affordability for UNI students and to hold down student debt. An affordable education is critical to the vitality of our state’s economy and workforce. An additional $4 million state investment will help Iowa families by holding UNI’s tuition flat for the 2023-24 academic year and provide more tuition differentiation from the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.

Difference between Tuition and Fees at Public Research Universities and Regional Comprehensive Universities

Illinois $3,777
Minnesota $5,504
Missouri $2,951
Nebraska $1,896
Wisconsin $3,296
Average $3,348
IOWA $832


In order to be competitive in recruiting students, UNI must continue its effort to realign the sticker price and net cost of tuition and mandatory fees relative to the state’s public research universities in a manner that is consistent regionally and nationally in states that border Iowa. The average difference between the regional comprehensive universities and the public flagships is $3,484. Currently that value in Iowa is $832.

Despite multiple challenges, UNI continues to increase the proportion of graduates who earn degrees in four years. UNI has increased its four-year graduation rate by 18 percentage points since 1997 (from 29% to 47%) and the vast majority of UNI students graduate within five years. One in 12 UNI students graduate in three years. UNI’s success in reducing the time students spend earning their degrees also enhances efficiency in university operations.

UNI focuses on academic programs that are aligned with the economic and workforce needs of Iowa. According to Iowa Workforce Development workforce projections, the top ten occupations that require a baccalaureate degree are in education, business, finance, community services, and healthcare. In 2022, 91% of all UNI graduates earned degrees that aligned with Iowa’s most in-demand jobs. With academic programs and partnerships that prepare graduates in each of these areas, UNI is preparing the workforce Iowa needs for a vibrant future.

Student borrowing at UNI is breaking away from national trends. UNI has seen its average student loan indebtedness decrease by eight percent since 2011. UNI is $5,000 below the national average on student debt. The university is working with students to ensure that they are prepared to enter the workforce in Iowa with as little debt as possible.

UNI graduates stay in Iowa. 86% of UNI graduates from Iowa stay in the state. 55% of UNI undergraduates from outside of Iowa stay in the state. 90% of UNI transfer student graduates stay in Iowa to live and work after degree completion.

UNI graduates have the experience. 92% of UNI graduates enter the workforce with experience in their field from UNI’s robust internship program, field experiences and preprofessional part time jobs. 94% of UNI bachelor’s graduates are employed or pursing advanced study within six months of graduation.