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The Iowa Board of Regents that represents Iowa’s public universities met virtually on May 4th to consider a proposal to not increase tuition for the upcoming Fall semester.  The tuition freeze is on the table even though there is an estimated loss in revenue combined at the Regent institutions of nearly $200 million.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, fewer students are expected to enroll at the universities in the fall, particularly international students. There is also financial uncertainty because the Legislature is suspended and has not set the state budget for next year. The Regents indicated that they could increase tuition in the Spring.

Federal funds have been made available to Iowa Regent institutions.  Under the CARES Act the University of Iowa would receive $16.2 million, $21.7 million to Iowa State University, and $10.9 million to the University of Northern Iowa.  Approximately half of those funds need to go to emergency financial aid grants to students.

Student Financial Aid Help

Students will now be able to defer payments and waive interest on federally held student loans until September 30. Also, the collection of defaulted student loans has been suspended.  Students will not be required to pay back federal student loans and Pell Grants if they withdraw from courses due to the COVID-19 emergency. In addition, students who withdraw will not have this semester counted against their lifetime eligibility for federal financial aid. Students may continue collecting work-study pay, even if they are unable to work due to school and workplace closures. To learn more, go to: studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus

Author: Todd Prichard