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

Iowa Democratic lawmakers introduce tuition freeze bill Wednesday

Iowa House Democrats introduced a bill prohibiting the Iowa Board of Regents from increasing tuition prices during a student’s first four full years of undergraduate studies.
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Iowa House Democrats introduced a bill Monday that would prohibit tuition increases during Iowa residents’ first four years at an Iowa public university to address the rising cost of obtaining a degree.

House File 2352, introduced by 24 Democratic Iowa House members, would require tuition to remain the same throughout a student’s degree at a four-year institution. Tuition increases would still apply to this year’s incoming students under the bill.

The bill allows this tuition freeze for students admitted on or after July 1, 2024, and on or before July 1, 2028, in enacted.

However, the bill has no Republican co-sponsors. With a Democratic minority in the Iowa House and Senate, the bill is unlikely to make it out of the committee before the funnel deadline late next week. The funnel is where bills not advanced out of their originating committees will be effectively dead.

Current law requires the regents to adopt rules regarding tuition rates that provide a predictable basis for assessing and anticipating changes in tuition rates.

The bill comes just one day after a group of Republican members of the Iowa House introduced House File 2327, which would cap tuition increases at three percent, prohibiting the regents from increasing tuition for students pursuing an undergraduate degree by more than 3 percent.

The bill included the changes to DEI recommended by the regents in November 2023.

Iowa Rep. Adam Zabner, D-Iowa City, said with this bill, students will not be shocked by a tuition increase during their first four undergraduate years. Zabner said the legislature would implement this bill while ensuring quality and budget stability.

“We want to make sure we’re still fully funding public education in the state, but we also want to make sure that every Iowan family can make the choice to send their students to college if that’s what they want to do,” Zabner said during a news conference on Wednesday.

Avery Dettbarn, of Strawberry Point, Iowa, a small rural town 83 miles north of Iowa City is a second-year student at the University of Iowa. Dettbarn said she wanted to advocate for the UI students who find the level of tuition and its increases to be a financial burden.

“Young Iowan adults are struggling to pursue their collegiate dreams because of the high and rising tuition price,” Dettbarn said. “This bill would directly impact these students and allow us to follow our dreams without the additional financial stress. Iowa’s young adults deserve the fundamental right to education, and this bill is what we, as students, need to help our success and our future.”

Tuition and fees for Iowa residents attending the UI during the 2023-24 school year are estimated to be $10,964, according to the UI. The tuition and fees estimation is around $600 more compared to the 2022-2023 school year, with an estimate of $10,353.

In addition to the 2023-24 tuition and fees estimation, Iowa resident students living on campus were estimated to be paying $12,616 for housing and food fees. The housing and food fees are more than $1,000 more compared to the 2022-23 school year estimation of $11,476.

RELATED: Proposed legislation would cap tuition increases at 3 percent at Iowa’s public universities

Iowa House Minority leader Jennifer Konfrst, D-Windsor Heights, noted during the news conference that over the past 20 years, universities’ operating costs have shifted from being primarily funded by universities and the state to now being primarily paid for by students’ families.

“If we, as a state, want to invest in higher education, we need to walk the walk,” Konfrst said. “So, this tuition freeze is accompanied by a corresponding budget increase so that we can make sure they can afford this without compromising regular services.”

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About the Contributor
Natalie Miller
Natalie Miller, Politics Reporter
Natalie Miller is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications. Prior to her position as a Politics Reporter, Natalie was a News Reporter focusing on Higher Education.