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Release: Oct. 19, 1999

UISG announces results of online tuition referendum

IOWA CITY– Some 96 percent of the 1,374 students who took part in a University of Iowa Student Government (UISG) tuition referendum voted against a proposed 6.9 percent tuition increase. UISG leaders say student participation in last week’s tuition referendum is a "staggering response" to their efforts to gather student input.

The UISG took the tuition referendum online Oct. 11-13. Some 1,374 students cast their vote using the UI’s "ISIS on the web" website to vote in opposition to or in favor of the proposed increase.

The regents will meet at the UI Thursday and Friday, Oct. 21-22 to discuss the increase, and at a scheduled presentation, UISG members will present to the regents the referendum results. UISG members also plan to present 35 pages of additional comments submitted online by students, and a videotape of students commenting on camera about the tuition proposal.

The results of the proposal show 96 percent of UI students voted against the 6.9 percent increase. And the majority of students (50 percent) favor a separation of tuition from fees. In ranking their preferences of how an increase should be used, 50 percent of students say additional revenue from an increase should be earmarked for student financial aid. Among the other 14 categories receiving significant votes: curriculum improvement (40 percent); Libraries (38 percent); building improvements (35 percent); and Instructional Technology (computing centers, 30 percent).

In a prepared statement, UISG members say the survey results "confirm that students care about improvements to the library and financial aid and are willing to support those projects with a separation of tuition and fees, but at the same time, are opposed to the two percent increase for quality."

Lana Zak, senior and UISG president, says she is hopeful the referendum signals to the regents that the students are concerned about the increase, and that additional funding for the UI should come from additional financial support from the state legislature, not an increase in student fees.

The regents are considering a 4.3 percent tuition increase proposal for the UI, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa. The UI is proposing an additional 2.6 percent increase to help improve various programs and instructional equipment. Currently, the yearly in-state tuition rate for full-time students is $2,998, which would increase tuition by $206 per year; the out-of-state rate is $10,440, leading to a $720 annual increase.

Below is a further breakdown of how students voted:
-- 73 percent of respondents are residents;
-- 27 percent non-residents;
-- 25 percent of respondents made additional comments;
-- 35 percent of UI students say they rely on their parents for tuition assistance;
-- 57 percent say they are self-supporting;
-- 51 percent believe it is acceptable for the three regent universities to differ in tuition costs;
-- 17 percent say the UI should be more expensive;
-- 43 percent say costs should be equal.