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Iowa’s public universities expect big tuition losses from COVID-19

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Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 5:03 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa’s three public universities are expecting to see a decline in enrollment that will exacerbate the financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board of Regents will review the proposed budgets for the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa at its meeting on Wednesday. In documents released ahead of that meeting, the universities warn of big cuts due to COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed us in unprecedented times.” the documents explain. “As with all of society, Iowa’s Regent Universities have undergone massive disruptions, and been forced to adapt their educational environments based on current conditions.”

In total, the operating budgets of all three universities are $65-million less than the previous fiscal year. That includes an $8 million cut in state appropriations. But most of the losses come from tuition, which makes up the majority of funding for the 3 public universities.

The University of Iowa expects a $14.8 million decline in tuition revenue to it’s $727.9-million, largely due to a smaller freshman class.

“For the fall of 2020, the University is anticipating a smaller incoming freshman class due to numerous uncertainties related to the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic across the country,” the University of Iowa notes.

Iowa State University is cutting $41 million from its $629.9 million total budget, including a $33.4 million drop in tuition revenue.

The University of Northern Iowa projects a $6.6 million loss on its $170 million dollar budget, $4.8 million of it from lost tuition revenue.

The budgets also noted an increased revenue in the current budget for the University of Iowa’s State Hygienic Lab due to COVID-19. The lab processes the state’s COVID-19 testing and received an additional $525,578 in state funding.

The budgets note the complicated questions around collegiate sports will delay athletic department budgets.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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