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If I were Press Show number 15 0 to 28 50 links. A. Major funding for this program was provided by friends of Iowa Public Television. The high cost of higher education is forcing many would be university students and I want to seek other options. We just are considered a viable option to let's say the public response institutions buy more buy more and more people. We also are somewhat lower cost Institute. Tonight a look at proposed State University tuition hikes and other issues facing higher education in Iowa.
This is the Sunday October 11th Edition of the Iowa process. Here is Dean bore. Good evening. In a recent report in a trade journal for state lawmakers that trade journal says that nationwide tuition has risen faster than inflation for the seventh straight here. The report also says that student debt has increased by 60 percent since 1980. Iowa State run universities have had their share of tuition increases and another increases been proposed to help finance an increase in faculty salaries. But as Wayne Bruin's reports to wishing high except for some potential university bound students to make alternative plans for their higher education. It's early morning and Tosh of Milan is on her way to college. Like many students toss up pays her own way. I work in the college public information office. If the grades in money hold up she hopes to graduate from the University of Northern Iowa with degree in Personnel Management by the
year 1990 but Tashi is not attending you and I. At least not for now. Like a growing number of students Kasha has decided to take care of some of her basic education requirements at a community college. Next year she'll transfer to a four year university. For my internship which is part of the Executive Assistant Program you're required to get a job and I was fortunate enough to get a job here on campus. And with working with everyone on campus and being able to go to work during my breaks rather than having to change my clothes and go to another job. It was really nice to be able to work it out that way. So far Tata has been able to keep ahead of her tuition costs by next fall when she began attending you and I. She says things will have to change. Right now I'm going straight through summers in the fall and spring semester I think
when I go to you and I I'm going to have to take my summers off and work and maybe even more money. Right now I've been able to keep break even with my job here at the campus. The rising cost of tuition since 1976 college tuition I was three state universities has more than doubled the state's regents are considering another increase of 9 percent for next year out of state tuition would jump 12 percent. But a Des Moines Area Community College tuition has remained relatively stable. Increasing this year for the first time in five years and around $1000 a year community colleges are about two thirds the cost of a four year public university. And according to community college officials that difference plus tighter academic standards at four year schools are making community college enrollment grow. The other communiques leaders that I've spoken with say the experience grows in the same areas and. We just are considered a viable option to. Let's
say the public relations institutions buy more. Buy more and more people. According to enrollment figures a shift appears to be taking place in 1907 and Roman at the University of Northern Iowa was down one hundred forty six students. The University of Iowa was down more than three hundred and seventy students and I was State University down by more than 700 at the same time community college enrollment of students in college parallel courses courses that matched the first two years of a four year university are up by more than 2000 students. That dramatic increase has created headaches for college administrators overflowing parking lots cramped classes and state aid based on the last three years in Rome and has put community colleges in a financial bind. But the students keep on coming. According to one theory college enrollment is supposed to go up during a recession and down when things get better. But community colleges even turn that idea on its head. Now that the economy has. Started to turn around.
The theory should run that our enrollment increases should have leveled off but we seem to be continuing to increase in enrollment here regardless of the economy. So when it went down we continued to grow and the economy has turned around. We're still continuing to grow. Paying for college whether community college or a state university has become a long term planning process for most students and their families to wishing there was just one of the topics of higher education that will be talking about tonight with our guest Dr. Gordon Eaton the president of Iowa State University. He'll be questioned by David Epstein and political reporter with The Des Moines Register and by Mike Glover a correspondent with The Associated Press. Dr. Eaton for as long as I can remember the argument has raged about how high tuition should be and students don't want to pay it. And you need more money for faculty salaries. And the legislature is broke. So what's the new idea to break out of this never ending argument that's going on in Iowa.
Well I'm not sure there's a new idea Dave. I think one of the things that we all have to be aware of is that there is no such thing as a free education. People may receive something that they believe is free but somebody somewhere is paying for that. We've had contributions major contributions from the state. And I would remind you that when Iowa State University was created to ration was free. And this is something that our students on the campus are very much aware of. The tuition now is a component in this equation. Federal funding has been. And the term in the equation. Federal funding on the other hand has been declining we have seen a decline in grants and loans and that's part of where the pressure is coming. What percentage of them of tuition. What percentage of college costs due to which in this day are roughly one third of all Dr. Eaton. Given that there don't seem to be any new ideas about how we're going to finance education given the federal cost decline are you really telling the parents of Iowa you better get ready. There are more coming down the road. You're not using it to have an increase this year but this is just the latest.
Oh I think that's true. And the reference a little earlier to the fact that derision has increased every year for the last seven years is also correct on the other hand if you move the timeframe back prior to 1981 when that began in fact when you take it all the way back to 1971 you found that the cost of tuition in constant dollars was declining declining for a decade until it had dropped in 1981 and only 62 percent reported event 10 years earlier than it's been coming back up now and people aren't looking at a broad enough timeframe so the students of nineteen eighties are paying for the mistakes of the 1970s when tuition wasn't increased. Well let's look at a still a different way if you if you go back to say 1971 and look at the cost of tuition in constant dollars even less what the regent office has proposed for the coming year tuition is cheaper. Then it was in 1971. It's a long way back from where you said that I was at university was free and then it was completely unsupported by the government. But are we right now in contemporary times
moving toward a shift in the way the university is financed. That is putting more on the those who attend and get the benefit from Iowa State University and the other state run institutions and rather than on the taxpayers. Yes we are doing the the proportion of state appropriations that supports a university like University of Iowa or Iowa State University is now well under half of the total operating revenue of the institution. That's what a lot of the public university president of the United States to suggest that we ought to refer to these now no longer a state universities but a state assisted University. Why shouldn't students pay more intuition if Or only if they're only paying a third of the cost of the education and education that's worth an awful lot to them both in terms of quality of life and in terms of the higher income that they're going to earn in their lifetime. Why shouldn't tuition be higher. Well I think that's a very relevant question. There are as you might imagine answers on both sides of that. But it's an important question to ask here in Iowa. Particularly
destitution like my own because two thirds of the students leave the state of Iowa once they have gotten that education and they are in their salaries and pay their taxes for the benefit of the economies of other states. And so there's a you know in a sense you could almost say maybe we ought to consider many of our resident students as non residents to look into charging them resident since quite a bit higher tuition. If the students pay right now about a third of the cost of education tuition what's the proper balance which would be half two thirds. Well I think it's very hard to say. As you know the tuition and fees are much much higher at private institutions the state of Iowa like many other states in the United States provides tuition grants to help offset that. For its own resident students so the state is increasingly moving into funding private education at the same time it's pulling back from funding public education and I don't know where the proper dividing line would be but pretty soon you can't tell the one from the other. To what extent you're right to students are leaving for for better opportunities but to what extent do we owe students of this state in education the parents have been paying taxes for a
long time. That's correct. That's correct and I think the real belief here in Iowa is that despite the fact we know a lot of our youngsters and the very talented ones in particular are going to leave the state. This is an obligation I will put so much. Importance on the value of education that I find that many taxpayers say. Sure I understand that these kids will leave but we owe this to them. They're our youngsters and Mike and I both have young daughters give us a little financial planning advice. What should what should we do today to plan for tuition costs 10 20 years down the road. You definitely need to do this I think the planning process just like the planning process for retirement is the other end of one's career and needs to start long before the actual moment it's going to begin and I think one needs to begin to set aside money before senators figure would you use it's been 8 percent in research last year nationally of Badi percent 78 percent increase. What should we plan for for a rate of tuition increases well future.
A lot of that I think is going to depend on what inflation is going to do and a lot of the increase in tuition that we've seen over the last seven years of course has been in a period of almost hyper inflation if we can hold that rate down. And who knows the answer to that question. You need to I think Target on that figure because it's going to continue to escalate the cost simply of again to the doctor eating us alive. Let's consider that we're all middle class people here sitting around the table sending our students to Iowa State or the other state run institutions. I would guess that when the Iowa State University a land grant institution was created in the end it was free tuition there. The idea was that low and middle as well as high income people could send their children to Iowa State or the other institutions. Is that opportunity disappearing now. Well one has to fear that for some part of the economic grouping that make up the residents of this state that it is becoming more and more
difficult and I think one of the obligations is to make certain that we provide other avenues or other means for those people to be able to attend the university. And one of the issues associated with tuition increases in the past couple of years has been a set aside so that in fact we can create scholarships of that no needy but qualified students denied entrance into the university. You've made very clear here today that I will care for me asked to be paid more than a good school. It's going to cost is going to go up. One of the things you always asked me Rast anymore is what do I get work. How can you shoot the fear of your life. Your money is being spent better use more efficiently and they're getting more bang. Well to gauge but I think you've raised the issue of credibility or accountability here and I think the universities need to look very hard at that issue. The board of regents at the present time at the urging of President Pomerantz has employed a consulting firm to do just that we're undertaking an
organizational audit that's underway at the present time of the universities to make sure that the public is certain that in fact these monies are being spent in appropriate and credible kinds of ways. It's a it's part of a public relations. Requirement it would seem to not look for the first doctorate many islands in recent years have had to make cuts. University budgets of continued to grow where if you make it cut out to universities that's a very good question. The a lot of the growth in the late 70s and early 80s was growing in terms of inflated dollars and in fact when you take account of the Consumer Price Index of the inflation rate it was not real growth. The declines been going on probably since the middle of the 1970s. Let me give you an example of how it's impacted us. At Iowa State and I'm sure there are other examples of the other two or region it's situations that could be provided between one hundred seventy nine and one thousand eighty six. We took on an additional three thousand eighty one students at Iowa State University
also beginning in 1989 the state legislature stopped appropriating the money that they had been appropriating to support the variable cost of that education and that for that number of students amounted to a loss to us of about 11 million dollars in the same period of time. The governors of the state who held office in that period took back in four reversions $99. So here we had a growth of 3000 students and a loss of 30 million dollars in in-state monies. So it's not quite the kind of growth that I think a lot of people imagine is going on that's a furry big. Drop in revenue funding that had to be offset through the process of allocation and the raising of tuition before we get too far away from that organizational all that that you mentioned. You called it. Maybe there are other reasons too which called it a public relations effort to to assure people that the universities are being will run and leave run. But what more do you expect to come out of that organization lofted audit Do you see that that audit is going to help the university spot some areas where they can streamline
you expect some streamlining to come out of that or would it Hanaud I expect some streamlining to come out of what already that you just say what kind. Well I think one of the one of the things that we need to look seriously at and this is one of the objectives but there are many others as well is whether or not in fact there is a duplication or a trip location of effort among the three institutions that is unnecessary. Now a certain amount of duplication question is necessary youve got to teach English you've got to teach mathematics you've got to teach chemistry on each of the campuses and going to the other end of the disciplinary spectrum there are certain things that uniquely characterize the three institutions in between and a good example of that might be law in medicine that your institution agriculture veterinary medicine engineering that my institution. But in between these is a vast area in which in fact similar kinds of things are being taught similar degrees being awarded. Will Will this administrative audit get at the relationships of private
schools and the community colleges. I mean the state spends a lot of money intuition grants for students at private colleges keeps them out of your institutions which lowers cost. You've got community colleges which we've seen are picking up more and more students. Is there anybody is this audit going to look at this whole picture and decide that maybe students ought to go to school at a community college for the first two years because the first two years of a liberal arts education is pretty basic and you really don't need to be in a big campuses and then look at the whole the whole relationship of what they do at Grinnell and maybe you won't have to do it at Iowa State. I think at this point in time that is not the plan I think the this organization a lot of it will be restricted to looking at the region institutions. There was a study commissioned by the Board of Regents and certainly there's a lot we need to look at I think to assure ourselves that the we're getting the most out of every tax dollar that the state of Iowa is providing to the U.S. and one of the things you raise a good issue. One of the things that's really unique to I was that university used to be a line. There's been a lot of talk of the receiving end of Eli given proper fashion.
If I look at the year like today it looks a lot like that three years ago. Despite everything that happened when we see a change in the role I think you'd be seen a change over the next year we move it no longer belongs to the university it was moved outside and we've created a for profit organization called our State University Broadcasting Corporation. There is a board of directors on which a number of people from media from the world of finance the world of law are sitting and they have been given some marching orders some rather stringent marching orders within three years time there to be showing a level of revenue income that that meets or exceeds 1.5 million dollars and that will be turned back to the funding of research on the campus. If they don't reach that target in three years. Then there will be an automatic say on who controls the board for the board. All the answers to the Board of Regents. So how bright it is if it's if it answers to the board Well it well it answers of course the board of directors answers ultimately to the
board. Well I think it's private to the extent that it was a real question of how much of this is public relations cosmetics and how much of this is real tea I can tell you that if it is not making that kind of a profit three years hence it will be gone and I wouldn't regard that as a public relations effort in particular. That's a. The state of Iowa has never despite the fact that there has been a perception in the past that it has had tax dollars or appropriation money invested in that that station has not been competing using from an advantaged position of state appropriations. The Governor it's good for the governor raised the issue in the context of improving AG research. What is being done at Iowa State University to improve the quality of AIDS research to improve I was State's leadership edge. You slipped and there was some discussion about selling off to give you a little money to fix egg research now if you're not going to sell wy What are you doing to improve the schools reputation egg research.
Well we're doing a whole number of things all of it at one time here for example in a month. We are bringing in from all over the United States. Deans and vice presidents of agriculture around the principal officers of major agribusiness firms and some good progressive leadership from the Iowa farming community to take a look at the entire enterprise to see how it might be streamlined refocused intensified in this area and that that's an effort that's coming from within the institution. In the meantime we're doing two things on the research front that are changing very much the complection the nature of research that's going on there. As you may know the state of Iowa. The legislature appropriated 17 million dollars of tax monies to be spread over a period of four years in support of programs of research are about to undertake construction of a major molecular biology building that will be the laboratory facility where this research will be carried out at the same time we're busy in
Washington you probably saw something in your own favor earlier this week. Seeking support from the principal agencies there that support agricultural research namely the Department of Agriculture and with the help of of the I would delegation to designing prototype research programs that will really define I think what would might best be called advanced agriculture or the agricultural research of the future. It will not be do you dealing necessarily with today's problems if you've got a special corn problem. That's not the sort of thing they're going to be working on. But they will be working on the genetic engineering for example of corn and soybeans to derive new strains that will produce or oils and starches that can be used as industrial feed stuff. Sounds like you decided to leap frog out of the present had leapfrog over for you. You think you. That's exactly what we're trying to do into the future is that right. Right. Do we need to increase agricultural production now production is not not the issue here at all that we're really talking about changing these crops for example soybean oils can
be used to manufacture plastics which we now manufacture from petroleum derivatives. If we're successful in that research then we'll have a renewable resource to draw on instead of the non renewable petroleum. In the past the AG research at the state land grant institutions has been criticized by some for being little more than the tools of corporate America that you're really working for. The chemical companies and in the seed companies and aren't working for the farmers. Will this shift in research oriented more towards people or are you just helping improve profits for cargo. No I think that it's going to it's going to do some of each here we're moving into a new area and a new thrust right now in alternative agriculture and in fact we're going to be operating some plots side by side where we where we do almost nothing. Let nature take its course where we do what we're doing now in normal production agriculture and then some compromised positions in between. But if I could if I could raise the point that David has made perhaps more general fashion.
We've heard a lot of talk about the universities in the context of economic development. It was through this that that's the stuff. At what point does the university have a responsibility to be have an environment of just pure learning. Why should I care whether the university helped develop the economy or help boost the profit for the company. It's a good question and I think there are universities and there are universities land grant institutions by nature. Going back to the creation of a partnership between the federal government and university faculty in terms of research I have always had a primary obligation among several primary obligations to conduct research in support of the society that in turn supports it. So the agricultural research or engineering research in any land grant institution in fact undertakes research with the understanding that that's part of its mission. Now that's quite different say than a Grinnell College.
It sets the land grant institution apart given all that we've talked about this evening where what is I what is the I was to university of 20 years I'm not going to look like we've raised some. But as you say good questions I'd like an answer. What. What will tuitions be will there be doubly or why. What about research what kind of vision do you have or what you see out there for the future of your institution or the extension service in there too. Yes. Okay fair enough question. The university hours in the other region universities and for that matter all those other colleges and universities in the state are are operating today in a rapidly changing environment. And one aspect of that environment that we talked about early on here was the changing fiscal environment. Universities by their very nature are very conservative institutions. They haven't undergone a whole lot of change they still conduct their their principal business in a way that they did 150 years ago and I think they need now to be much more conscious of the changing environment and whatever its dimension is than they have been in the past.
I would say that the our state university of the of the future will be more sharply focused. It will be a little less discipline airily die fused as it is now. We will seek to identify those areas that are its greatest strengths or that represent its unique place in Iowa for example where the only veterinary medicine program in the state that you're not running away some things then yes I think that it has to mean that in this era of declining resources it also means being a little bit more exclusionary. RATH buying into the idea that not everybody on the college we've had this sort of universal feeling of college is a good thing. Are you going to start saying to kids they can have a high school or college isn't right. I have always personally said that because I think there are a very large number of people for which that's appropriate and that's not to put them down in any way. You know there are a lot of. A lot of activities and jobs of one kind can be quite happy and content and do well and that does not require a university education.
What about the extension service dimension that you see a role for the future. Yes I do and this is an issue of controversy in Washington as you may know the Reagan administration has been pulling funding back from the its extension service suggesting that perhaps it's anachronistic and is no longer needed. One of the arguments that's made is that the research that's done by the major agribusinesses is taking the place of what has been done traditionally by extension service that is if you want to plant a new farm two thousand acres of corn they'll advise you on what seeds what fertilizers what pesticide and so forth. My own belief is that because those companies are primarily in the business of making a profit. So you want a dispassionate disinterested third party making judgments about that so I think there's always going to be a need for extension service and the University speaking with one voice in all this at least one of the presidents is not all happy with the proposed tuition increases until publicly. No that's correct and I would say the answer to that is no they are not all speaking with what he will be done if
the universities are not going together. Well I think it can I think we have to recognize that there are very substantial differences between and among. These institutions and I know I don't disagree basically with present purposes principal position on the issue of of tuition. I don't go with him in that particular direction I understand what he's saying. I'm sympathetic to the basic pitch that we just can't keep doing this to the kids year after year. But I frankly don't see any alternatives unless we're willing to let the system because you've You mentioned some changes you see in the future. You know first of all playing to its strengths maybe a lot of medicine you know that they're in medicine for example what's going to be cut. What do you see as places that programs that your institution could be cut out eliminate or reduce that's politically a very sensitive issue and I wanted to ask if I would a name here for subjects you are you might find me floating the morning river Suck Up next Rick. You'll be thanking will leave a lot of talk. Thank you Dr. Eaton. Thank you know our guest today on I worked for us before we go we'd like to tell you viewers that if you have any
questions or comments about I will press write us at Post Office Box 64 50 in Johnston Iowa in the zip code is 5 0 1 3 1 again. Post Office Box 64 50 and the zip in Johnston Iowa is 5 0 1 3 1 for a panelist David Epstein and Mike Glover on Dean board. Thanks for joining us tonight. Stay tuned now for take one. In one. Major funding for Iowa Prouse was provided by friends of Iowa Public Television.
Iowa Press
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Higher Education
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"Iowa Press is a news talk show, featuring an in-depth news report on one topic each episode, followed by a conversation between experts on the issue."
Guest: Gordon Eaton, President, Iowa State University. UCA-30.
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Higher Education
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Chicago: “Iowa Press; 1502; Higher Education,” 1987-10-11, Iowa Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 9, 2023,
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APA: Iowa Press; 1502; Higher Education. Boston, MA: Iowa Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from