UI officials consider employees portable device encryption

BY AARON WALKER | APRIL 29, 2015 5:00 AM

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House Republicans are taking the necessary steps to cut funding for the University of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Education.

The cuts are intended to prioritize institutions that enroll more in-state students, ensuring Iowa’s taxpayer dollars are spent on Iowa’s students.

The committee-approved budget would redistribute $12.9 million from the University of Iowa to Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.

Rep. Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls, said because the UI has greater nonresident enrollment, it would be easier to cope with the loss. And for a school such as UNI, which has a significantly higher resident population, performance-based funding will provide a more fair distribution.

“Every year, it seems like UNI has to struggle for appropriate funding and have many deficits as far as its budget but have a higher percentage of in-state students than any other school,” Rogers said.

Nonresidents make up 36 percent of Iowa State’s undergraduate student body, and UNI’s undergraduate enrollment is made up of only 11 percent out-of-state students. The new performance-based funding model distributes a larger portion of funding to schools possessing more in-state students.

The Senate proposal does not include performance-based funding. Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, said this is to promote cooperation between universities rather than compete for a dwindling resident population.

“Instead [of performance-based funding], we are responding to needs of each university,” Hogg said. “We have budget increases for the [UI] and larger budget increases for both UNI and Iowa State because both those universities made the case they have particular funding needs right now.”

Hogg said he believes the House budget benefits UNI and Iowa State at the expense of the UI. He also said the state government has adequate funds to enact the Senate budget.

House Republicans are allocating money away from the University of Iowa because they believe there needs to be a more “equitable” distribution of taxpayer dollars among the three regent universities, Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, told The Daily Iowan in a statement.

“The regents and the House Republicans have recognized that there needs to be a more equitable distribution of state taxpayer dollars between the three universities,” Paulsen said. “The House Republicans’ budget allocates taxpayer dollars in the proportions the Board of Regents requested, which we believe to be more fair and balanced.”

In addition to the UI, community colleges would also take a hit. There is no increase in community college funding included in the budget.

The Iowa State Education Association lobbied against the bill because of its failure to account for inflation.

“If they don’t get any money to keep up with cost of inflation, they could find themselves in situation where they have to raise tuition … particularly at the community college level,” said Melissa Peterson, a government-relations and research specialist with the association. “Unfortunately, we are already top 10 in nation for cost of tuition to attend community college.”

The House bill includes general funding of about $231 million, $180 million, and $89 million for the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa, respectively.

Paulsen has stated he believes the three regent universities can fund the tuition freeze with the House’s budget plan. And as for the reimbursement of funds lost at the UI, Rogers said the whole point of the allocation is to save money, making the “backfill” counterintuitive.

“The proposal of the Democrats was let’s do performance-based funding, but let’s backfill the $12.9 million [to the UI],” Rogers said. “What’s the point in doing the new model if you’re just going to backfill to what it was?”

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