UISG creates tuition panel


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UI Student Government officials moved closer to trying to keep tuition low for UI students at a meeting Tuesday night.

The Senate approved creating a Legislative Tuition Task Force, though not before some contentious discussion among the senators.

The committee’s sole focus will be to research ways to influence the state Board of Regents on tuition.

Senate members questioned the legitimacy of the task force, voicing concerns that the action would negatively affect the lobbying committee’s efforts, which often deals with tuition problems.

“Tuition is an important issue,” said Sen. Whitney Carson. “We need a clear vision on this. The task force will provide that vision.”

Last year, the regents approved an average tuition increase for the three Iowa regent institutions at 4.2 percent for the 2009-10 school year. At September’s meeting, regents discussed further tuition increases — and some members of UISG hope to prevent this.

UISG representatives will make a recommendation to the regents at their October meeting, which could draw from the task force’s findings.

The committee will work with UI administrators, regents, state officials, and student governments at Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa to determine the best policy.

Sen. Michael Appel drafted the legislation for the task force, and spoke passionately about the cause.

“It’s time something is done about tuition,” he said. “The task force is a step in the right direction.”

The committee’s research will be presented to the UISG Senate, which will draft a recommendation from the findings.

Appel’s legislation did not specifically endorse UISG President Michael Currie’s Lead Lag Tuition Policy, which would freeze tuition at a 3 percent inflation rate — changing with each freshman class.

Currie didn’t take this movement as a jab at his own tuition solution.

“The task force doesn’t want to be locked into advocating Lead Lag,” he said. “This isn’t an effort to sidestep the issue, it’s an opportunity to be open-minded.”

Either way, UISG is looking to keep tuition low, Appel said.

“Our goal is to keep tuition under the median [Higher Education Price Index] or inflation index,” Appel said. “We don’t want to see tuition exceed the inflation rate.”

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