With the start of the second session of the 88th Iowa General Assembly on the horizon, the University of Northern Iowa is again requesting an additional $4 million in state appropriations in an effort to maintain a competitive tuition for the 2020-21 academic year.
Last year, the university successfully requested additional funds from the state legislature, allowing UNI to be the only public university in the state to freeze tuition. This year, UNI is seeking a similar result to keep its costs competitive with other higher education institutions in the region.
“Last year, we were grateful the legislature recognized an investment in UNI is an investment in the Iowa economy,” said UNI President Mark A. Nook. “We hope they maintain this investment in the 2020-21 academic year, so UNI can continue to provide a high-quality education at an affordable cost as we continue to education Iowans for Iowa.”
The university supports a variety of industries in Iowa, services state businesses and benefits Iowa as a whole through an expanded economy and improved quality of life. According to an economic impact analysis report from Emsi, a leading labor market analytics firm, UNI added $1.6 billion in income to the Iowa economy in 2017-18, a value approximately equal to 0.8% of the state’s total gross state product.
UNI supports nearly 22,000 jobs or roughly one out of every 94 employees in the state. For every $1 invested in UNI, students gain $4.40 in lifetime earnings, taxpayers gain $3.10 in added tax revenue and public sector savings and society gains $8.40 in added income and social savings.
Overall, UNI's general education fund request from the state is $103 million, which includes funding for several other areas on campus.
UNI’s Industrial Technology Center (ITC), originally built in 1974, needs critical improvements to the infrastructure and technology it uses to prepare Iowa’s future industrial, manufacturing and construction workforce. UNI is asking the Iowa Legislature to invest $39.7 million over the next three years to modernize and expand the ITC to serve the workforce needs of Iowa’s industry and to better prepare teachers to instruct STEM and career and technical education disciplines.
UNI’s Metal Casting Center is requesting $400,000 to support the Additive Manufacturing expansion started last year to further position Iowa as the national leader in metal casting additive manufacturing. This funding will accelerate advancements in new technologies, such as investment casting 3D printing.
Additional legislative budget requests that remain the same over last year include:
• $6.4 million for STEM education
• $1 million for economic development
• $900,000 from the Regents Innovation Fund
• $175,256 for the Recycling and Reuse Technology Transfer Center
• $125,302 for real estate education