2010 Iowa Legislative Session Adjourns

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The 2010 Legislative Session adjourned Tuesday, March 30. Unique to the legislative session this year was a supplemental appropriation to UNI for fiscal year 2010 for $5.2 million. Included in the supplemental appropriation bill was a provision stating that UNI may carry forward any unencumbered funds of the $5.2 million into fiscal year 2011. The supplemental appropriation resulted in the Board of Regents voting to rescind the $100 surcharge effective upon enactment, which will have an impact of approximately $1 million to UNI's general fund. 

The Education Appropriations Bill has been submitted to Gov. Culver, who has 30 days in which to apply his signature after officially receiving the legislation from the General Assembly. The bill includes a $77.5 million state appropriation to UNI's general fund budget for fiscal year 2011. This is a 4-percent cut, or $3.1 million reduction, from adjusted fiscal year 2010.

Also included in the Education Appropriations Bill was a one-time appropriation to UNI for fiscal year 2011 for $1.5 million. While these funds cannot be expected to support long-term commitments, they are significant and we thank our local legislative delegation for their efforts in securing these funds on UNI's behalf.

The Iowa General Assembly also asked the Board of Regents and Iowa's universities to achieve greater efficiencies, reduce costs and duplication of programs and services, and increase accountability as part of the State Government Reorganization Commission.

We are hopeful that the fiscal year 11 appropriation signals a reversal of trends in an improving economy. Compared to the more than 23-percent budget cut UNI experienced during a one-year period, it is a step in the right direction that will help us plan more strategically.

Nevertheless, it is another cut with serious consequences. For example, the Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership (IMSEP) will experience a $1.5 million budget cut. UNI's salary increases and related benefits are $3.9 million; our current appropriation does not cover these increases. UNI students and their families will experience a 6-percent tuition increase in fiscal year 2011.

We thank UNI parents and students for their continued support under difficult economic conditions. Our responsibility to our students and the state of Iowa has not diminished, in spite of budget issues. We must remain focused on our guiding principles and university priorities as we continue our efforts to pursue cost-saving measures and strategies that enhance UNI's revenue streams.

We will continue to do everything we can to maintain academic quality, to ensure progress to graduation, to make student financial aid accessible and available, and to keep our campus safe and secure as we make decisions in the weeks and months ahead.