At its September meeting, the Board of Regents will consider approval of FY 2024 state appropriation requests totaling $630.46 million. The bulk of this request consists of the Regents’ Higher Education General University Appropriation, which includes a continuation of FY 2023 recurring appropriations totaling $491.5 million and $32 million in new, incremental funding.
The University of Iowa is requesting $12 million in incremental funding to increase Iowa’s nursing workforce and improve first-in-family college student outcomes.
Beginning in 2018, the College of Nursing began purposeful efforts to grow the number of nurses educated, and enrollments in the college have increased 11% from five years ago to 160 students today. This increase has fully tapped the existing capacity of the college – both in terms of needed space and equipment for clinical training and the instructors needed for educating new students. Increasing faculty ranks and renovating existing infrastructure and are the next steps to develop more nurses for Iowa. Of its $12 million request, the UI will use $7 million to fund various initiatives with the goal of increasing nursing enrollment from 160 graduates a year to 208 graduates per year.
In addition, roughly one in five UI undergraduates are first-in-family students, with many of these students hailing from rural Iowa. Students who are first in their family to attend college have retention and graduation rates below their peers who have family members with college experience. The First Gen Hawks (FGH) program looks to address this disparity through peer mentoring, experiential learning and individualized academic coaching. The UI will use the remaining $5 million of its $12 million request to fund the FGH program, which includes 250 scholarships for FGH students.
Iowa State University is requesting $12 million in incremental funding for five initiatives.
Like UI, Iowa State will use increased funding to assist first-generation students. This assistance includes scholarships and specialized academic support.
Additionally, ISU will use $4 million to prepare Iowa’s future-ready workforce by expanding degree and certificate programs for students in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, computer science, computer engineering, data science, software engineering, and other high-demand technology areas.
Further, Additional resources will enable the university to expand mental health programs, such as Mental Health First Aid and the Question/Persuade/Refer suicide prevention program, and to re-launch its student counseling internship program. These initiatives, if funded, will help meet critical mental health needs both on-campus and statewide. Additional funding will also sustain valuable community and economic development programs to help rural communities thrive.
ISU and the Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory are leaders in innovation in rare Earth metals. Iowa State will use $3 million in increased funding to maintain Iowa’s leadership in this area by accelerating research and supporting American industry to create resilient and secure supply chains for materials development and recycling.
Finally, $2 million of ISU’s request will be used to foster innovation in digital agriculture, biosciences and manufacturing.
The University of Northern Iowa is requesting $8 million for tuition differentiation and its educators for Iowa initiatives.
The average difference between regional comprehensive universities and public flagships is $3,484, nationally. UNI’s designated peers average $2,775 less in tuition and mandatory fees compared to the public flagship institutions in their states. This data indicates that UNI’s tuition and mandatory fees should be between $2,700 and $3,500 lower than that of the public research institutions in Iowa. Currently UNI’s tuition and fees are $832 lower than those of Iowa and Iowa State. The additional state investment of $4 million will help UNI honor its mission as an affordable education for Iowa families by holding tuition flat for the 2023-24 academic year.
In addition, UNI will use $4 million to address the growing teacher shortage in the state by scaling up current programs and increasing recruiting.