The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Some scholarships hit by budget shortfall

University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld listens to a presentation during a meeting in the Reiman Ballroom of the ISU Alumni Center in Ames on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. The Board of Regents will have a full board meeting on Thursday, Feb. 23. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

By Marissa Payne

and Sarah Stortz

[email protected]

Students are pondering the possibility of taking on more student-loan debt after University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld announced university plans to cut five annually awarded scholarships for the 2017-18 school year as a result of a state budget shortfall that led to an $8 million reduction in university appropriations.

Affected scholarships include the Iowa Heritage Scholarship, for first-year students with a parent or guardian who graduated from the UI; Iowa Heritage Transfer, for transfer students with parents or guardians who graduated from the UI; Iowa Heritage Presidents, for students who apply for the President’s Scholarship along with having a legacy at Iowa; Iowa Community College 2+2, for students who transferred from an Iowa community college in a 2+2 graduation plan; and Community College Academic Scholarship, for accomplished students who transferred from a community college.

In Harreld’s presentation at a Wednesday education appropriations subcommittee meeting, he said 2,440 resident undergraduate students will be affected by the scholarship losses.

“Moving forward, the university will commit to investing each and every additional dollar received in general funding above and beyond our new base of $224 million toward scholarships for these resident students,” he said. “Support, obviously, that is received from the state is vital and is needed in order for us to move forward. I hope this is, in fact, as many have stated, a temporary situation.”

In past discussions regarding tuition increases, The Daily Iowan has reported that state Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter has said resident students — taxpaying Iowans — “who have participated in paying for the university should have a benefit from that” through lower tuition rates “and will most likely continue to.”

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While the scholarship cuts will affect 2,440 resident students, Rastetter said the UI did its best to diminish the financial burden placed on students.

“It is not merit scholarships, or it’s not scholarships for need,” he said. “[Harreld is] not hitting students who frankly can’t afford to come to college, so I think they tried to minimize the best that they can by the scholarship decline.”

UI freshman Madison Osborn, who came here on the Iowa Heritage Scholarship, said she felt shock and anger about the announcement.

“I’m paying college out of my own pockets, and I’ve been saving money for years,” Osborn said. “I chose to go here because of the scholarship, or else I would’ve just gone to community college.”

Despite the financial setback, she said, she will continue attending the UI by applying for more scholarships and taking out more student loans.

“If they were going to take out scholarships, they should’ve waited to do it for future-year students, not ones who are currently attending,” Osborne said.

UI sophomore Evan Montgomery, who also came to the UI on the Iowa Heritage Scholarship, said he was highly disappointed when he heard the news.

“When I first skimmed through the email over it, I got really angry, but then I took the time to read through it,” he said. “I kind of understand why they needed to do this, but I’m not happy about it.”

Montgomery said he wishes the UI would have done a better job foreseeing the possibility of a scholarship cut.

“Informing us that this would have happened would have been nicer instead of just suddenly telling us and leaving us on our own,” he said.

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