Democratic lawmakers said today Governor Branstad’s 2015 budget would shortchange Iowa community colleges and increase community college tuition.

“While we applaud the Governor’s plan to freeze tuition at our three state universities, we can’t ignore Iowa’s community colleges next year.  Higher community college tuition would be yet another barrier to Iowans working to join the middle class. To grow Iowa’s economy, Iowans must be able to attend our community colleges, which are the key to solving Iowa’s skilled worker shortage,” said Senate President Pam Jochum of Dubuque.

In budget documents released earlier this week, the Governor provides no increase to Iowa’s 15 community colleges next year.

“The skills gap is a huge roadblock in our efforts to build a strong middle class in Iowa and we can’t afford a year of status quo for our community colleges,” said House Democratic Leader Mark Smith of Marshalltown. “Our goal should be a quality pre-k through 14 education for every child in Iowa and the Governor’s plan is a step in the wrong direction.”

“In communities across this state, families are earning more and doing better thanks to new opportunities at Iowa’s community colleges,” said Sen. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs.  “We’ve worked hard to make sure community college is more affordable.  Iowans don’t want to return to the days just after Governor Branstad left office, back when Iowa community college tuition was the highest in the nation.  We will instead work with the Governor and the Republicans to make sure the educational ladder to better life is affordable for every Iowan ready to study and work hard.”