From this week’s House Republican Newsletter:
Spring Break got fun this week as students from Iowa’s 31 private colleges came to the Capitol and appealed to legislators to fully fund the Iowa Tuition Grant. On the same day each legislator got inundated with e-mails and letters from private college students asking for the same.
Students want financial certainty regardless of the Legislature’s crumbling budget process. A process that doesn’t lend itself to any degree of clarity on what might happen with education funding next year. Experts predict that it will be another six to eight weeks before we know anything.
The Iowa Tuition Grant (ITG) gives 15,000 Iowa resident private college students an average of $3,195 toward tuition expenses each year. The total appropriation is $48 million.
Another 2,500 students attending for-profit private colleges receive an average of $2,000. A total of $5.4 million goes to these students who are attending Hamilton College, Kaplan University or Ashford University.
But the ITG students have taken hits. The December 2008 across-the-board-cut took $750,000 from the ITG this fiscal year. The second hit came with Governor Culver’s January budget. Culver wipes out another $3.2 million with his proposed 6.5 percent cut for next fiscal year. The students at the for-profit private colleges risk loosing $350,000 in tuition assistance.
Keeping young people in the state is more important than ever. And many of the 80,000 Iowans out of work will turn to our higher education institutions to retool their skills. Factor in the fact that Iowa students have the highest debt load in the county and it’s easy to see that now is not the time to be taking money out of the hands of students.