Gov. Kim Reynolds signs community college aid distribution formula bill into law

Gov. Kim Reynolds has officially given Iowa’s community colleges the ability to develop the formula that determines state aid distribution with her signing of Senate File 2405.

Reynolds signed the bill into law Wednesday alongside community college leaders from around the state, according to a Community Colleges for Iowa news release.

“I appreciate the willingness of Iowa’s community colleges to work together and be responsive to the unique needs of the regions they serve,” Reynolds said in the release. “Iowans in every county have access to excellent educational opportunities, and this change will open more doors for students across the state.”

The legislation does away with the state’s fixed funding distribution formula and instead has the presidents and CEOs at each of the state’s 15 community colleges come together to develop a formula each year.

At least 10 of the leaders must approve of the formula by Oct. 31 for it to be adopted, and if an agreement cannot be reached, the Iowa Department of Education would instead establish one. As long as there is no base reduction in allocations, the bill requires that no college receive fewer state dollars than in previous years.

Community Colleges for Iowa Executive Director Emily Shields previously said this bill was a top priority for the organization this legislative session, as it would give more flexibility for leaders to change the formula if needed and help close gaps between colleges that have historically been under- or over-funded.

“Community college leadership are the most knowledgeable for responsibly handling the funds because they have the best understanding of how to do so equitably and effectively,” Shields said in the release.

It received unanimous support from community college heads, passed the Iowa Senate with only one vote against it and passed through the Iowa House of Representatives with unanimous approval, according to the news release.

“We are grateful to the Iowa legislature for their support in enriching the lives of Iowans through education and opportunity,” said Todd Holcomb, president at Hawkeye Community College, in the release. “Iowa community colleges take their important role in Iowa’s workforce and economic development very seriously.”

Iowa Central officials weigh in

“I’m proud of the community college leadership in Iowa, including the 15 presidents and chancellors in the state of Iowa, for coming together to create a bill that provide equitable funding for all community colleges across the state. I appreciate our locally elected legislators who stepped up to make sure that this legislation got to the governor’s desk to benefit Iowa Central. This bill will ensure that all students who choose community colleges as their post-secondary option will be provided a high quality affordable education regardless of where they live in the state.”

Jesse Ulrich

President, Iowa Central Community College

“It was an honor to help get the funding formula approved by the Iowa Legislature this session and signed by the governor today. Iowa central has been trying to get this done for over 20 years and I give all credit to Dr. Ulrich for this passing. Once Iowa community colleges agreed this reform was needed, we then worked with Iowa House and Senate leaders, including strong support of Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, Sen. Ken Rozenboom, Rep. Ann Meyer, Rep. Carter Nordman and Rep. Skyler Wheeler. Historic moment for Iowa Central and Dr. Ulrich.”

Jim Kersten

Vice President, Government Affairs and External Relations, Iowa Central Community College


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