There was good news for University of Northern Iowa students in the budget proposal unveiled Tuesday by Gov. Kim Reynolds.
The governor recommended the university receive all the general funding it requested from the state for the next budget cycle, including an additional $4 million UNI would use to prevent tuition increases for Iowa students in the coming year.
Reynolds' budget proposal is the first step in creating the state's budget, but it represents a crucial step in realizing UNI's goal of making the cost of its education predictable for Iowa families and competitive with its peer institutions.
“We look forward to working with Gov. Reynolds and members of the Iowa Legislature during this year's session to continue our commitment to ensuring a reasonable, predictable cost of education for Iowa families, while also providing the high-quality education our students need to be successful professionals and leaders in Iowa's changing economy,” said UNI President Mark Nook.
The budget proposal also included UNI's request to fund a major renovation and expansion of the Industrial Technology Center, a project that would expand the university's capacity to provide qualified applicants to industries struggling to meet Iowa's employment needs in high-demand fields.
UNI requested the state fund $38 million of the $42 million project with a three-year investment, including $2.2 million funded in the first year, $14 million in the second, and $21.8 million in the third. In the governor's budget, the project was awarded the $38 million over four years instead of three.
With the budget now moving to the legislature, UNI will continue to advocate for its requested funds, emphasizing its importance to providing affordable, high-quality education and training the next generation of Iowa workers who will continue to build a vibrant economy in the state.
In total, the governor's budget proposal included:
- $99.7 million for general education (a $4 million increase)
- $38 million over four years for the ITC renovation and expansion
- $6.4 million for STEM education (a $1 million increase)
- $1 million for economic development (no change)
- $900,000 from the Regents Innovation Fund (no change)
- $175,256 for the recycling and reuse center (no change)
- $125,302 for real estate education (no change)