Joint Statement from Student Leaders on the Iowa Legislature’s Decision to Cut Funding for Higher Education:
The Iowa Legislature’s decision to cut $8 million in important funding for higher education at a time when students and their families are struggling with a once-in-a-generation economic crisis is short-sighted and deeply disappointing.
The cuts for Fiscal Year 2021 will be particularly harmful against the backdrop of 30 years of generational disinvestment.1 And at a time when courageous activists have exposed deep racial inequities in our society, it must be noted that these cuts will fall hardest on students of color. When state funding goes down, students pay higher tuition,2 and rising tuition is yet another barrier for students of color—who are consistently forced to take on more student debt than their white peers.3 Rising tuition has even been shown to decrease diversity on campuses.4
As student leaders, we meet with legislators every year and discuss the things that make Iowa’s public universities so special. They tell us how they value Iowa’s world-class universities and how much they want to invest in our futures. But the Iowa Legislature’s actions to further disinvest from students and further widen the gap in access to quality education reveals the truth. The state does not value students as an asset; they see us as an expense to be cut.
Elle Boeding, President, University of Northern Iowa Student Government
Connor Wooff, President, University of Iowa Undergraduate Student Government
Mackensie Graham, President, University of Iowa Graduate & Professional Student Government
Eleanor Field, President, Iowa State University Graduate & Professional Student Senate
Morgan Fritz, President, Iowa State University Undergraduate Student Government