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

Opinion | Why Iowa’s tuition raises mean less diversity for students

Whether tuition must be raised or not, the state of Iowa must ensure its universities maintain diversity within their student bodies.
Cody Blissett
State Board of Regents members lead a meeting in Iowa City on Wednesday, June 14, 2023.

Diversity is a key element of any academic setting, and raising tuition threatens that.

The state Board of Regents approved a tuition increase on June 14 of 3.5 percent for all Iowa universities. Tuition raises, no matter how small, affect many students, such as contributing to a lack of diversity.

The UI and the state of Iowa as a whole need to implement thoughtful financial aid policies that ensure funding goes to the students who need it most while promoting access among underrepresented or disadvantaged students.

This could include increased state funding for public universities, promoting more need-based financial aid programs, and proposing alternative fundraising strategies for campus renovations and improvements.

Diversity is particularly valuable in more homogenous states, such as Iowa, which has a white population of nearly 90 percent. The UI needs to ensure it maintains its diversity, whether that means freezing tuition or alternative solutions.

According to research at New York University and City University of New York, “At all public four-year colleges … racial and ethnic diversity drops by 0.013 percent for every 1 percent increase in in-state tuition and fees.”

The relationship is even more vital when focusing on nonselective institutions with an acceptance rate of 55 percent and higher, such as the UI. At nonselective institutions, every 1 percent increase in in-state tuition correlates to a 0.141 percent drop in full-time undergraduate diversity, according to the research.

This result is concerning because non-selective universities tend to be more accessible points of entry into higher education for underrepresented populations.

Diversity is imperative in a university setting because it enriches the educational experience by adding varying perspectives and promoting a healthy, well-informed society.

According to David Trend, a professor, author, and journalist at the University of California,  Irvine, schools base admissions decisions on student’s willingness to pay or borrow loans.

Even if a tuition hike is necessary, it should not be equated with a failure to foster a more diverse and understanding society at the UI.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.