UI touts new programs


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University of Iowa President Sally Mason addressed the state Board of Regents in a telephonic meeting Wednesday about the current university budget, heading into the upcoming state funding changes.

Mason highlighted state appropriations for the newly installed summer Hawkeye Tuition Grant and resident student financial aid as well as the new bachelor degrees the university will feature.

“[These programs] will certainly help bring in resident students,” said Michael Barron, UI assistant provost for enrollment management and the executive director of Admissions.

The university’s general-education fund currently holds around $3.5 billion, including health care, housing, and more, Mason said. She anticipates a 2.7 percent increase for fiscal 2015, she said.

“General-education funds are the heart of the University of Iowa’s budget,” Mason said.

In 2016, the regents will change their funding model from the current 35-35-30 allocation model that it provides for the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa, respectively.

With new funding model, 60 percent will be based on the enrollment of in-state students in the regent universities, 15 for progress and retainment, 10 percent for access, 5 percent for sponsored research, 5 percent weighted for graduate and professional students, and 5 percent based on customized requirements set by the regents.

According to the UI Registrar’s Office, there were 11,109 full-time in-state undergraduate students enrolled in the spring 2014 semester. That number is down almost 10 percent from five years ago.

Last fall, the university had 10,420 resident students, while Iowa State University had 18,900 and the University of Northern Iowa had 9,411.

Barron said upcoming fall enrollment saw an increase in resident students somewhere around 5 percent.

However, the new funding model puts the university at a considerable disadvantage to the other regent universities.

Mason said state appropriations are vital for funding the $2.8 million in financial aid for in-state students at the university.

Beginning this past summer, the university implemented its first-ever tuition-free summer for the undergraduate class of 2017.

Eligible in-state students could take advantage of up to 12 free credit hours of classes, and out-of-state students who are also eligible could register for more than four semester hours at the price of resident summer tuition.

The program is geared to help students retain their four-year graduation plans, Mason said, and is successful because of state appropriations, leading to higher student success in their four-year graduation plans.

“It shows our commitment to student success and allows students to keep on track to graduation,” Barron said.

This summer, 270 students participated in the Hawkeye Tuition Grant. Mason said she anticipates more than 1,000 students enrolled next summer as more become aware of its existence.

No other state school implements such a program.

“Anecdotally, parents and students are impressed by the program,” Barron said.

One key development Mason cited to the regents Wednesday is the entrepreneurial education that has been offered through the Tippie College of Business.

“We’re seeing tremendous interest in these certificates,” she said.

Regent Katie Mulholland recommended the program to become a new Bachelor of Arts in enterprise leadership for the UI as well as a Bachelor of Science in biomedical science.

The motion was unanimously approved.

These degrees, in addition with the tuition-free summer, come at a time where the university seeks to bring in more resident students because of the new funding model.

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