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Tuition Freeze Decreases Law School Tuition
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On Wednesday the Iowa Board of Regents voted to freeze tuition for resident undergraduates for a second year ­- the first time it’s happened since 1975. The regents voted to decrease tuition for both resident and nonresident University of Iowa law students in an unexpected move next year. Among it’s tuition requests, the University of Iowa College of Law asked to have rates decreased for nonresident Juris Doctor students in the coming year.

Regent Katie Mulholland revised that proposal Wednesday to include Iowans, saying, “It’s only fair that resident students have the same economic opportunities as nonresident students. “It’s a fairness thing. My proposal purely is that what is fair for one group should be fair for another group.”
The UI law school tuition approved decrease will drop resident and non resident Juris Doctor costs by 16.4 percent, dropping from $47,252 to $39,500 for nonresidents.

  
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The large amount of qualified UI law school applicants has suffered in the past few years from national and regional trends and diminishing interest in the legal profession. For example, in the past two years Iowa saw a “significant reduction in Iowa resident law applicants,” falling from 287 in 2010 to 173 in 2012, according to Regent documents. Official said that the goal of decreasing tuition rates is to keep the UI law school attractive in an increasingly competitive market. Regent Board member Robert Downer was the only person against the proposal to include residents in the law school tuition decrease.

“I’m  concerned about this because the budgetary of decreasing the nonresident tuition was in the $300,000 range,” he said. ” This would be an amount in excess of three times that.” More time needs to be spent studying said Downer on how decreasing law school tuition for both resident and nonresident students would affect the overall budget. Regent Larry Mckibben said he believes lowering tuition costs will increase enrollment, offsetting any lost revenue. ” If we could push up the enrollment of Iowa students by 10 to 20, we will more than cover that,” Mckibben said. ” I fully support this.” On Wednesday the Board of Regents said the approved 2014­/2015 tuition rates are dependent on state funding and warned that changes are likely if the legislature fails to approve a 4 percent boost in general university funding. This basically means that the tuition freeze for resident undergraduates remains in jeopardy,­ though board President Bruce Rastetter said he’s gotten positive feedback from lawmakers on the funding request. Can the state come through with more money for its universities? Tuition rates for resident undergraduates will stay at $6,678 for University of Iowa students and both Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa students’ tuition will stay at $6,648.

For nonresident undergraduate students, tuition will increase 1.8 percent at UI, 1.74 percent at ISU and 2.5 percent at UNI. At all three regent universities, graduate and professional tuition rate increases were approved for both resident and non-resident students. The cost to attend at all three regent universities, excluding UI law students will go up for most students next year, even with the tuition freeze, due to increases in mandatory fees and room and board costs. The total estimated cost for a UI resident undergraduate  for example, will be $21,086 in the next academic year, at a 2.2 percent hike. Student leaders have shown their gratitude to the board for their efforts in keeping a base tuition from rising. From 2009 to the current budget year, the average increase in tuition and mandatory fees for undergraduate residents in Iowa has been 3.9 percent a year.

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Image Credit: UIowa.edu





 

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