The 2019 Iowa Legislature adjourned on Saturday, April 27. Thanks to your support, the Legislature funded the Regents at a level that will help UNI prevent tuition increases for students in the coming year. You helped ensure UNI is able to maintain our strong emphasis on student success.
For next year, the Legislature appropriated a lump sum of $12 million to the Board of Regents for allocation to the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. The funds are to specifically support new strategic initiatives, meet enrollment increases, meet the demand for new courses and services, fund new but unavoidable or mandated cost increases, and support any other initiatives important to the core functions of the universities.
The Legislature also fully funded UNI’s $400,000 request for the expansion of the Metal Casting Center's additive manufacturing capabilities related to investment castings technology. Expansion at the UNI Metal Casting Center will incorporate state-of-the-art automated equipment that relies on digital inputs rather than physical exertion. Some key industry sectors benefiting from 3-D investment casting technologies include aerospace, defense, agricultural manufacturing, and bioscience and medical technologies. UNI will coordinate with private industries to help supplement this appropriation.
The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council located at UNI received a $1 million increase for ongoing mathematics and science programming for students enrolled in K through 12. Moneys are also used to provide technology education opportunities to high school, career academy and community college students through a public-private partnership, as well as opportunities for students and faculty members at these institutions to secure broad-based information technology certification.
UNI had also requested $38 million over three years to renovate and modernize our Industrial Technology Center (ITC) to serve the workforce needs of Iowa industry and better prepare teachers to teach STEM and career and technical education (CTE) fields. The Legislature appropriated $1 million for planning and design work starting the following fiscal year, FY 2021. While the Legislature did not appropriate our full request, we have laid some great groundwork and are encouraging legislators and legislative staff to come to campus and tour the building in the hopes of securing our future funding request during the next legislative session.
UNI will continue to focus on building our enrollment back to levels that are in line with our facilities and the needs of the state. 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. In the year ahead, we will also continue to advocate for financial aid for UNI students and an investment in the renovation and expansion of the Industrial Technology Center. This work is essential for UNI to provide the high quality, affordable education our students deserve.
Thank you for your commitment to UNI. Gov. Reynolds has 30 days to sign or veto legislation. For more information, please read our state government relations blog post https://govrel.uni.edu/2019-legislative-update).