Low-Demand Programs At Risk Amid University Budget Woes

Ann McClure's picture

Ongoing budget woes are again generating fears about the future of low-demand programs at Iowa’s three public universities, particularly at the University of Northern Iowa where a high percentage of in-state students are enrolled.

Next week, UNI President Ben Allen will announce the elimination of programs that graduate one or two students per year. He did not say Thursday which programs will be targeted, but has acknowledged the cuts will mean some tenured faculty will lose their jobs as UNI tries to close a budget gap through cuts and increased state funds.

Thirty-nine graduate and undergraduate programs at UNI have graduated 10 or fewer students since 2006, a Des Moines Register review shows. Many of the programs are in the areas of foreign languages, music and the natural sciences.

Similar programs at Iowa State University and the University of Iowa aren’t immune to scrutiny. Republican leaders on the state Board of Regents and in the Iowa Legislature have been vocal about the need for the universities to consolidate academic programs and services.

Read more