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CEDAR FALLS — The Iowa Board of Regents does not want to raise tuition more than once for next year. But coming up with the “right number” is taking longer than expected.

Regents will meet Oct. 18 and 19 at the University of Northern Iowa, but a planned unveiling of tuition rates has been scrapped.

Regents President Michael Richards said in a statement Tuesday the board needs more time.

“It is imperative we set tuition at an appropriate amount. The tuition task force meetings held this past summer gave the board great information and feedback from a wide variety of constituents. One of the key messages we heard is that students and families do not want multiple increases during the year,” reads the statement. “We agree with this, and we will not revisit 2018-19 tuition levels once they have been established.”

Richards said there is no timetable for a first reading of proposed tuition rates, but it will be done as soon as there is a proposal “with which we are comfortable.”

In September, Richards said he didn’t have an inkling of what tuition rates will be, but it will be the “right number” to avoid a second increase in the same year.

When the board later met to set its budget requests for the Legislature, it did not ask for an increase to the three public universities’ general funds but rather a $12 million increase — including $2 million for UNI and $5 million each for Iowa State University and University of Iowa — for needs-based student financial aid.

The university presidents said during those task force meetings if state aid is not increased, they will need tuition increases near 7 percent. The financial aid proposal could offset some of that if lawmakers agree to the request during the 2018 session.

While tuition is off the table at the October meeting, there will still be plenty to discuss. On Oct. 18, the board will interview Mark Braun, the sole candidate for the regents’ executive director position, and could announce its selection the next day.

Braun currently serves as the regents’ chief operating officer.

Previous executive director Robert Donley announced his departure in June.

The board also will hear strategic plan updates from the universities.

To live stream the October meeting, or for details, go to http://www.iowaregents.edu/.

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Staff Writer

Political reporter at the Courier

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