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Leaders of Iowa universities want budget increase

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Leaders of Iowa's three public universities are asking the Legislature for a 2.6 percent increase in state dollars, saying the move would help fund two research labs, hire faculty and allow for a tuition freeze for in-state undergraduates.

The Board of Regents and university presidents sought the $12 million increase Tuesday at an education appropriations subcommittee meeting.

If lawmakers agree, universities will freeze tuition for in-state undergraduate students beginning in August.

The regents previously said the freeze is contingent upon state funding increases and a special $4 million appropriation for the University of Northern Iowa.

Additional funding would aid the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa and Iowa State's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. ISU president Steve Lathe says he'd use the funding to hire 200 more faculty.