Last week Gov. Branstad presented his budget proposal, which includes a $20 million increase for Iowa's Regents universities. The proposed budget for the three public universities is a significant improvement over last year. While it falls short of the request made by the Board of Regents, it provides a good starting point for our work with the Legislature.
The governor did not include UNI's special $4 million request for FY2013 in his proposed budget. That money would need to come out of the $20 million or we would need the Legislature to designate the additional $4 million. Budget cuts continue to have a more profound impact on UNI because we depend much more on state appropriations than our sister institutions, which have the benefit of a much greater percentage of non-resident students supplementing their budget.
Other UNI-related items in the governor's proposal include:
- An additional $3 million for the STEM initiative focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. This is a Regents-wide effort led by the Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership program (IMSEP) on the UNI campus.
- Flat funding for UNI's economic development programs, which include the Institute for Decision Making, Metal Casting and My EntreNet. The funding request for the Regents technology transfer programs was not included in the governor's budget. We will work with the Legislature to provide additional resources for BCS programs.
- $8.2 million for Bartlett/Baker projects
- $2 million for deferred maintenance and fire safety at Iowa's three universities
There are certainly areas of funding we'd like to see restored, but we're pleased to see the governor commit additional resources to higher education at this time.
We are committed to maintaining the high-quality education provided by this institution. Faculty, staff and students are asked to work together this legislative session to share UNI's story and show the impact we have in the state. It is important to share accurate information and remain positive about all the great work we are doing at UNI.
We must do everything we can to maintain our outstanding academic quality. Together we will make the right decisions and continue to keep the University of Northern Iowa on the path to becoming an even greater university.