UNI educates Iowans for Iowa. Nearly 90% of our students are from Iowa and 92% of those Iowa students stay in Iowa after they graduate to work or continue their education. In addition, 50% of the non-residents who graduate from UNI stay in Iowa and contribute to our skilled workforce.
The trend of UNI students taking less time to graduate and earn their degree continues for a fourth year in a row. UNI students rank second lowest in Iowa with the amount of student debt after graduation. But 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 Sept. 25 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.
This $2 million financial aid request meets the state appropriations need President Nook outlined in his five-year budget model to the Regents Tuition Task Force in August 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 committed to student success and upholding our public charge to be open and accessible. This state revenue increase will enhance and protect the quality of education offered at UNI where student success is a priority, while having an intentional focus on applied learning and maintaining our national prominence.
The remainder of UNI's budget requests to the governor and the Legislature for general operations, economic development efforts, recycling and reuse, math and science (STEM), and real estate education are at their FY 2018 levels. In addition, UNI is requesting $36.2 million over the next three years to renovate and expand the Industrial Technology Center.