The FY 2019 request is an additional $2 million.
With the trend of less state appropriations toward public higher education and higher tuitions to pay for college, additional financial aid is needed for Iowa's students. At their September 25th, 2017 meeting, the Iowa Board of Regents approved their fiscal year (FY) 2019 state appropriation requests to the governor and the 2018 Iowa Legislature. The Board is asking for an additional $12 million for financial aid for Iowa students attending one of Iowa's three state universities; $2 million of this financial aid request would go to Iowa students attending UNI.
According to the Iowa College Aid Commission Report on Higher Education, Iowa ranks last in the nation for state-awarded, need-based financial aid to public university students, but first in the nation for state-awarded, need-based financial aid to Iowa students attending private colleges and universities. In 2016, only six percent of the total need-based aid the state distributes annually goes to resident undergraduates at Regent universities.
Financial aid is critical to UNI students and their families. Over 87 percent of UNI students currently receive financial aid.
The trend of UNI students taking less time to graduate and earn their degree continues for the fourth year in a row. UNI students rank second lowest in Iowa with the amount of student debt after graduation. Over the last 10 years, UNI has seen more than a 13 percent decline in student debt due to its highly effective Live Like a Student financial literacy program and professional loan counseling provided to the students. These programs educate students on the importance of living within their means while they are in school, ultimately reducing student loan indebtedness.
This $2 million financial aid request corresponds with President Nook’s five-year conservative budget model outlined to the Regents Tuition Task Force in August 2017 so that tuition increases can be reasonable and predictable for Iowa families. Our tuition is near the median of our peers and above the median of competitors. UNI will manage a slow and steady enrollment increase, continue to look for cost savings and efficiencies and keep our expense increases at the Consumer Price Index of 1.75 percent.
UNI is dedicated to being open and accessible to all students and financial aid is a key component to ensure it’s available to students and their families.