Update from President Ruud

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dear UNI Family,

As we prepare to celebrate fall commencement and the winter holiday, I am reminded that our university community has much to be thankful for: our creative students, committed faculty and staff, and alumni and friends who are dedicated to advancing this great university. We look forward to beginning 2014 on a positive note. 

On December 4, the Iowa Board of Regents approved freezing tuition for resident undergraduate students at all three public Iowa universities for the second year in a row. The tuition freeze is contingent upon UNI receiving a 4 percent increase in state appropriations to address inflationary increases and having $10 million added as permanent funding to our general fund base appropriations for fiscal stabilization. This will require a commitment from our legislators this spring to continue efforts to make public higher education more accessible and affordable for Iowans.

We continue to look forward to the work of the Performance-Based Revenue Model Task Force led by former Regent David Miles. The Task Force continues to review the national landscape on performance-based funding and the impact it has on stakeholders, on student outcomes, and on transparency and accountability in public education. Currently, the systemic funding model does not proportionally distribute state appropriations per resident students at the public universities.

Kiplinger's Personal Finance recently ranked UNI in the top 100 "Best Values in Public Colleges" for 2014. The ranking cites four-year colleges that combine outstanding education with economic value. We jumped 24 places to No. 71 on the 2014 list thanks to our excellent four-year graduation rate, low average student debt at graduation and overall great value. This ranking also emphasizes our outstanding academic programs taught by dedicated faculty.

On average, our undergraduate student loan debt has declined by 10 percent over the last three years. Our financial literacy initiatives, which include personalized loan counseling and the "Live Like a Student" course, are having a positive impact on students. On a national average, UNI students borrow 21 percent less than other students. Please refer to my web site for our declining student loan debt chart.

As we move forward, we continue to welcome your suggestions on how to improve the University of Northern Iowa. We also want to thank you for helping UNI succeed. One of the hallmarks of this great university has always been its ability to adapt to whatever challenges — and opportunities — arise.  A hallmark, that with your support, I know will continue. Thank you for being part of the UNI family.

Judy and I wish each of you a very enjoyable, joyous and relaxing holiday! May we all reflect on the many, many blessings for which we are grateful. We are excited to begin 2014 with a renewed sense of excitement to embrace future opportunities.

Purple for Life!

Bill Ruud