Eliminating a controversial program to set-aside a portion of tuition funds for scholarships would harm Iowa's public universities, an Iowa Board of Regents staff member told the regents today.
Patrice Sayre, chief business officer for the Board of Regents, addressed the board at their meeting on the University of Northern Iowa campus today. She said 25,583 students currently receive assistance under the tuition set-aside program.
She said eliminating the program, which has recently come under fire from some state lawmakers, would potentially decrease enrollment, make it harder for low-income students to receive higher education and decrease diversity at Iowa's three public universities.
The program works by setting aside at least 15 percent of every student's tuition for need-based and merit scholarship assistance for other students.
Many have criticized the program, saying the set-aside is out of place in an age when students are taking out costly loans to finance their education.
Sayre, however, said if the program is eliminated, tuition rates would not automatically decline. Instead, the tuition funds that currently go to scholarships would likely be re-directed to other budget areas.
The regents will discuss the tuition set-aside program in greater depth at their June 6 meeting on the University of Iowa campus.