In its continuing effort to keep tuition affordable and competitive while providing high-quality education, the University of Northern Iowa is asking the state legislature for an additional $4 million in state appropriations for financial aid to resident undergraduates.
In addition to the general fund request, the university requested a three-year, $38 million investment for the renovation and expansion of the Industrial Technology Center, home of UNI’s Department of Technology. The extensive transformation will modernize the facility and increase its enrollment capacity by 40 percent to better meet Iowa’s workforce needs in construction, manufacturing and engineering technology industries.
Combined, the requests represent UNI’s commitment to ensuring a reasonable, predictable cost of education for Iowa families while providing the state with the qualified applicants it needs to fill positions in high-demand fields.
“We know that the cost of college is a concern for many students,” said UNI President Mark A. Nook. “Our goal with our new budget process is to provide the high-quality education that our state needs at a price that students and their families across the state can afford.”
UNI has been a recognized national leader in reducing debt. In the four years from 2012 to 2016, UNI lowered the average undergraduate student debt by more than $2,000, and they are now $4,959 below the national average. The college’s program and its impact on student borrowing has been featured by the American Council on Education. UNI was also ranked as one of the “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine.
Although UNI students already graduate with less debt than the average college student, the university is committed to making education even more affordable. The additional $4 million in state funding would allow UNI to maintain tuition costs essentially at current levels and become more competitive with peer institutions, while growing enrollment in line with its facilities.
Meanwhile, the state has more job vacancies than workers to fill them. These jobs demand highly skilled workers in dynamic industries, such as teachers, accountants, construction managers and operations specialists.
UNI is situated to meet these state employment needs. Its programs in business and education are nationally recognized, and more than 85 percent of UNI’s graduates remain in the state to work, with the vast majority leaving college with experience directly related to their future careers.
“UNI is committed to educating Iowans for Iowa,” Nook said. “That means we must continue building support for educational opportunities that are within reach for Iowa students and their families. We must also do our part to build a vibrant workforce and economy for years and generations to come.”
UNI’s total state appropriation request for the 2020 fiscal year is $99.7 million for the general education fund, with an additional $5.7 million for special purpose units and $2.3 million for economic development.