New Study Documents Impact of $180M Funding Cut to Iowa Higher Education


New Study Documents Impact of $180M Funding Cut to Iowa Higher Education

Faculty report stagnant wages, broken and deteriorating equipment and facilities, students struggling with issues including homelessness and hunger

IOWA — As the Iowa legislature prepares to pass this year’s budget, a new report documents the impact of deep funding cuts of $180 million to the state’s colleges and universities over the last decade and a half. The study, which draws on government data and a survey of more than 320 Iowa faculty members, reveals crumbling classrooms, deteriorating educational quality, students facing extreme financial hardships and stagnant wages that are pushing some educators to leave the state to find work elsewhere.

“We built world-class institutions and are now slowly strangling them,” one faculty member responded.

Over the last decade and a half enrollment has increased at Iowa’s colleges and universities, yet state funding per student has declined by more than $4,200 according to the report entitled Failing Our Future. Administrators have tried to cover shortfalls on the backs of educators and students. Tuition and fees have increased 20-25 percent at flagship schools and wages have stagnated for faculty.

At a time when teachers across the country have gone on strike over inadequate funding for our public schools, this new research suggests that those challenges are not confined to K-12 education. While more and more jobs demand education beyond high school, graduation rates at Iowa’s flagship public universities are slipping compared to peers. Critics say these trends endanger Iowa’s long-term economic success.

In response to such conditions, part-time and non-tenure track faculty have launched their effort to organize at the University of Iowa. You can read more about their effort here.

You can find the full report, Failing Our Future: The Cost of Defunding Higher Education in Iowa, here.