Iowa general aid increase critical
DES MOINES — Harold Prior, president of Iowa Lakes Community College, addressed a legislative subcommittee in Des Moines on Thursday.
Dr. Harold Prior spoke with members of the House and Senate Education Appropriations subcommittee and stressed the critical need for the legislators to approve the State General Aid increase of $12.9 million for the next fiscal year, as recommended by the Iowa Department of Education.
“Our testimony focused on the colleges’ ability to continue to preserve quality program offerings,” said Prior.
In addition to president Prior, Dr. Penelope Wills (President of Northeast Iowa Community College) and Dr. Patricia Keir (Chancellor of Eastern Iowa Community College District) spoke to the legislators.
According to Prior, all three presidents voiced concern about sharp increases in student tuition for next year, if the Department of Education’s recommendation is not passed.
“Concern was also expressed regarding the elimination of the faculty salary enhancement funding approved last year and not included in any budget recommendations this year,” Prior added.
The presidents also explained to the subcommittee that less than the $12.9 state general aid increase would not provide adequate resources for colleges to establish new programs or expand existing programs with growing enrollments, according to Prior.
Iowa has 15 community colleges in the state of Iowa which work together as a group through the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees and the Iowa Association of Community College Presidents. Iowa Community College graduates help to expand the workforce and contribute to the state economy with 82 percent of graduates remaining in the state of Iowa.