Are you just paying for your own child's tuition at the University of Iowa or also someone else's?

We didn't know that 24% of our daughter's tuition bill at the University of Iowa went to pay for scholarship students, over a third (36.7%) of whom have not demonstrated financial need.

Neither my husband, our daughter, or I knew that we were paying 24% of her University of Iowa tuition bill toward other students' tuition scholarships. More than a third (36.7%) of those scholarship students my daughter helps pay for in each tuition bill have not even demonstrated any financial need. 

How is this fair? We didn't even know about this until recently. There was no transparency at all.

Paying for other students' scholarships would be fine if we were rolling in the dough, but we're not. The University of Iowa is a public university and we are paying in-state tuition. Even so, a college education is not as accessible as it used to be, because tuition goes up nearly every year.

Meanwhile, the University of Iowa recently began donating $100,000 a year toward the Downtown Business Association, formerly known as SSMID. Why? What does the Downtown Business Association have to do with the university's mission? Without UI students, faculty, and staff patronage, downtown businesses would be in a world of hurt.

The University of Iowa is also paying over $100,000 to President Sally Mason's husband. It's okay to pay him for lecturing in biology. But to pay him to be Pres. Mason's consort and fellow fund-raiser? Tell me again how many male presidents' wives were paid to do exactly the same thing? I'm guessing zip. Nothing. Nada.

The University of Iowa Foundation has over $1 billion in assets yet only spends $13.1 million for student scholarships.

That's not enough, especially when you consider that students are going into debt with student loans to make up the difference in scholarship aid. My daughter has had a job to help pay for college since she was 16 years old. Do scholarship students also work? Are university administrators careful enough with their resources? I don't think so.

Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked consideration of a Democratic bill to prevent the doubling of some student loan interest rates, leaving the legislation in limbo less than two months before rates on subsidized federal loans are set to increase. Doubling student loan debt interest is estimated to cost grads up to $4,000-$5,000 over the life of the average student's loan debt.

Republicans are also blocking consideration of legislation repealing tax breaks and taxpayer-funded subsidies for oil companies. So rich oil companies win and students lose. How does this make sense?

Some economists are predicting that student loan debt will explode like the housing bubble and break the economy. Over all, Americans of all ages now owe about $1 trillion in student loans. In 2010, student loan debt surpassed credit card debt for the first time.

Student loan debt will make it difficult for students to marry, buy cars, and buy houses. Larger student loan debts will cripple their ability to consume at a rate that will help spur the economic recovery, which is 70% consumer driven, especially if recent grads can't find decent-paying jobs.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mark French May 12, 2012 at 01:33 PM
The Iowa Board of Regents are having a meeting June 6, 2012 in Iowa City. See: http://www.regents.iowa.gov/Meetings/dates.html Did you read the response to Mason's husband receiving compesation? See: http://www.regents.iowa.gov/news/preslangstatementonkenmason050712.pdf
Maria Houser Conzemius May 14, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Mark French, you are a great source for the state universities' questionable actions and policies!
Maria Houser Conzemius May 14, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Mark, I read your second link to Craig Lang's comment on Ken Mason's employment. It would be important to know whether a male president's wife ever received paid compensation for doing what Ken Mason is doing, i.e., fundraising and attending important events?
Mark French May 14, 2012 at 09:32 PM
I do not think the public knew that the University President required a spousal team with duties - 24 X 7 365 days per year. I do not think Iowans would tolerate this. Michael Gartner and Gary Steinke, who served as regent president and executive director of the board respectively when both Masons were appointed to their UI positions in 2007, could not recall an agreement that Ken Mason be paid to work in a fundraising capacity. Read: http://www.press-citizen.com/article/20120507/NEWS01/120507016/Regents-president-defends-paying-Ken-Mason
Maria Houser Conzemius May 15, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Mark French, I saw the article in the Des Moines Register/Iowa City Press-Citizen about Ken Mason's pay for fundraising. It seemed to me like the Regents had no recollection of approving such an arrangement but seemed to think it was a terrific idea. I wish I could find out if the wife of a male president had ever been paid for fundraising and attending numerous events. I'll bet not. Sorry I didn't reply earlier. I spent the whole weekend with my husband on the High Trestle Trail north of Des Moines.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »