State Board of Regents President David Miles met with the editorial board of The Gazette Monday afternoon. He talked about budget cuts, program duplication and fall enrollment. He said the board will look at program duplication among the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa in making budget cuts. But Miles doesn’t think much unneeded duplication still exists after regent efforts in the past 10 or 20 years to eliminate it. He also noted that while fall enrollment looks like it will fall slightly at the UI and UNI, it will be up quite a bit at ISU, meaning an increase for the system overall. Here’s my story that ran in The Gazette today:
Regents chief sees little duplication
By Diane Heldt
CEDAR RAPIDS — Program duplication among Iowa’s three regent universities will be considered as officials search for ways to cut budgets, Regents President David Miles said Monday.
But Miles, in a meeting with the editorial board of The Gazette, said he doubts little unnecessary duplication remains after past state Board of Regent initiatives to cut those areas. And some duplication always will exist, Miles said, noting that the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa all must have core liberal arts and sciences offerings. He thinks the universities have little duplication at the graduate level.
“Most of the duplication that can be eliminated has been,” said Miles, of West Des Moines, but “there has been and there will be” study.
The board has three task forces studying possible savings in employee benefits, collaboration among the institutions, and the two special schools overseen by the board. The collaboration task force will study duplication, Miles said.
It’s all part of efforts to cut budgets in preparation for the loss of $80 million in federal stimulus money. The universities received the stimulus dollars for fiscal 2010, which began July 1, to cover $86 million in state funding cuts. But it was one-time money, so leaders must prepare for a funding drop in fiscal 2011.
To deal with the cuts without relying too much on tuition increases, the universities must make choices that protect the core mission and disinvest in things not central to the core, Miles said.
He pointed to the recent elimination of baseball at UNI and a major restructuring of ISU Extension.
“There will be more decisions like that,” he said. The universities also must find ways to generate more revenue, such as recruiting more outof-state and international students, who pay higher tuition. Every qualified Iowa student will continue to have a place at the UI, ISU and UNI, Miles said, but the universities should boost alreadystrong recruitment from out of state in a way that strengthens the institutions, rather than stretching them further.
Fall enrollment looks stable, Miles said. Projections show the UI down 60 students to 30,500 and UNI down about 200 students to 12,700. But ISU could post a gain of 700 students to 27,556.