WATERLOO, Iowa --- The higher education budget bill approved by the Iowa House and Senate last week adds money for community colleges, including a $927,339 boost for Hawkeye Community College.

The two chambers passed a compromise bill that would spend $897.7 million on higher education.

That bill, hammered out in conference committee, settles at $66 million less than what the Senate had approved and $3 million more than what the House version.

Rep. Anesa Kajtazovic, D-Waterloo, called the bill good news for HCC.

"If we are going to build a strong middle class in Iowa, workers and students need access to affordable education and training at places like Hawkeye Community College," Kajtazovic said.

The bill continues a $5 million tuition grant program for areas in the workforce experiencing a shortage and also moves that program out of the general budget so it cannot be shifted into another program.

The bill creates a $66 million workforce training fund that would help some students would also qualify for loans or grants. Another $5.5 million targets adult literacy and education at Iowa's community colleges.

"Building our skilled workforce is a top priority, and the new job training fund will help Iowans upgrade their skills to get a good paying job," said Rep. Deborah Berry, D-Waterloo. "The training fund will also provide skilled workers in critical job shortage areas, like manufacturing and welding."

One of the highlights of the overall budget bill was a tuition freeze at the state's three public universities, the first time in three decades students haven't paid more for tuition.

Political reporter for the Courier

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.