Iowa House Republicans offer $12 million in scholarships for students in high-demand fields, no direct regent funding boost

The grants, awarded by the College’s Student Aid Commission, are intended to help with labor shortages.

Grace Smith

House members gather in the chamber of the House following the opening of the 2022 legislative session at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. Republican leaders in the House and Senate said the priority for this session is to return taxpayers’ money and address labor conditions.


A bill proposed by the Iowa House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education would give state Board of Regents institutions less money than requested for the year, and instead create a new scholarship program aimed at filling labor shortages in Iowa.

Rather than provide a raise to universities from the state’s Board of Regents, lawmakers are proposing that dollars for universities remain the same, adding $12 million for scholarships for students pursuing high-demand jobs. .

The scholarships, which would be awarded by the College Student Aid Commission, would take the form of grants of $5,000 per semester, intended for third- and fourth-year students at Iowa’s three public universities.

“The education budget bill also institutes a new approach to meeting Iowa’s need for highly skilled workers,” House Republicans said in a bulletin Thursday. “…Scholarships would be paid per semester, with the last payment coming after the student has worked for one year at the State of Iowa.”

Half of the money will go to people in teaching programs and the other half to students pursuing careers in high-demand jobs. The jobs are designated as high demand by Iowa Workforce Development.

“We’re short on teachers and we need high-demand jobs and different nurses and various things like that,” said Rep. David Kerr, R-Morning Sun, who chairs the appropriations subcommittee. education in the House. “…This is a grant program and it will help fund students and give them a chance to participate in these programs.”

Kerr said the program exists in other states and he thinks it will work well in Iowa.

The proposal falls well short of the $22 million the Regents requested for the 2023 budget late last year. In January, Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proposed budget suggested increasing funding for regents by $14.8 million, consistent with a 2.5% increase already enacted for K-12 education.

The Council very much appreciates the legislative proposal to provide additional financial assistance to Regent students,” said Regents spokesperson Josh Lehman. “And we look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly to support Iowa’s public universities.”

University funding remains the same

The funding for the University of Iowa described in the bill is divided into different categories and totals $228.7 million.

  • Unemployment Insurance would receive $215,605,480 for salaries, support, maintenance, equipment, financial assistance and miscellaneous purposes.
  • With respect to UI’s Oakdale campus, the university would receive $2,103,819 for salaries, support, maintenance, and miscellaneous purposes.
  • The State Hygiene Laboratory would receive $4,822,610 for salaries, support, maintenance and miscellaneous purposes.

For the medical aspects of unemployment insurance, the bill also outlines the funding that would go to the various programs:

  • For the family medicine program, the university would receive $2.22 million for salaries, support, and qualified families to complete the family medicine residency program.
  • UI would receive $634,502 in specialized child health care services, including childhood cancer diagnosis and treatment network programs, rural comprehensive care for hemophilia patients, and the infant follow-up program at Iowa’s high risk, including salaries and support.
  • The National Cancer Registry would receive $143,410
  • The UI would receive $53,427 to distribute to the Iowa Consortium for Addiction Research and Evaluation
  • The biocatalysis center would receive $696,342
  • The UI College of Medicine Primary Health Care Initiative would receive $624,374, of which $254,889 would be allocated to the UI College of Medicine Department of Family Medicine for family medicine faculty and support staff.
  • The Birth Defects Registry would receive $36,839

The bill concludes by outlining the various programs and centers that would also receive funding, as they have in the past, with this bill:

  • Nonprofit Larned A. Waterman Iowa Resource Center would receive $156,389
  • Iowa Online Advanced Placement Academy Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Initiative to Receive $463,616
  • The Iowa Flood Center, for use by the university’s college of engineering, would receive $1.15 million

Iowa State University’s total funding amount is $220.8 million, while the University of Northern Iowa’s amount is $105.2 million.

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