FY13 budget priorities: Student experience, research, salaries

Iowa State will invest additional dollars this year to bolster the educational experience for students, its research enterprise, and compensation for faculty and staff. These were tapped as priorities since early in the budget planning process and are part of Iowa State's FY13 budget approved Aug. 3 by the state Board of Regents.

The university's total budget for the year that began July 1 is just over $1.2 billion, which includes sponsored research and auxiliary units such as athletics, utilities, residence and dining. The general fund operating budget of $574.5 million is supported by $221.8 million in state support, an estimated $13.7 million in direct federal appropriations, $317.6 million in tuition and $21.4 million in indirect cost recovery and other revenue.

New revenues and reallocations total $42.3 million above the final FY12 budget. (The board requests net changes from the revised FY12 budget, rather than original FY12 figures.)

The university will use about one-fourth of new and reallocated funds for compensation increases for current faculty and staff -- $8.4 million for faculty and professional and scientific staff and $1.8 million for merit staff covered by the state's contract with AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees).

In May, the regents directed each university to cap its university-wide average salary increase for nonunion employees at 2.5 percent or lower. At Iowa State, that average turned out to be 2.44 percent. 

Additional faculty and staff

In response to growing student enrollments and new focus areas in research, Iowa State has designated another $8.2 million for new faculty positions and the accompanying support necessary in lab space, computers and other equipment, and graduate assistants.

The provost's office reports 82 new tenured or tenure-track faculty hires so far this year, with smaller numbers than recent years of faculty retirements and resignations. Because the university doesn't maintain a position inventory, it's difficult to track new positions vs. replacement positions. However, the net increase in faculty positions is counted every fall from the October payroll. Some of the units hiring multiple tenured or tenure-track faculty members include aerospace engineering; apparel, events and hospitality management; the School of Education; English; graphic design; industrial and manufacturing systems engineering; interior design; and mechanical engineering.

Also intended to provide a quality experience for a growing student body, Iowa State will invest $2.6 million in positions targeting undergraduate education and another $1.3 million in student support. People in these jobs will teach additional sections of high-demand courses and labs, especially in the life sciences, chemistry and engineering. There will be more academic advisers and financial aid advisers. There will be additional staff in student activities and the registrar's office, and more support for international students and students who are war veterans. There also will be more support in room scheduling and custodial care in high-use student areas.

Research enterprise

Iowa State will commit $5.3 million to strengthening research efforts, including $2.5 million to seed new initiatives in research innovation, technology transfer and economic development. The remaining $2.8 million will support additional library resources, databases, graduate assistants and research support staff.

Other commitments

New funds -- $1.37 million each -- will complete annual commitments to university marketing efforts ($2.5 million) and the development of university-wide administrative software systems ($2 million). The FY13 budget also restores some permanent funding to several outreach units hit hard by state funding cuts in FY10 and FY11, including Reiman Gardens and University Museums.

FY13 Summary: New revenues and reallocations

Strategic investments
Salary, benefits increases
      Faculty and P&S staff $8.4 million
      Merit staff $1.8 million
New positions $10.8 million
Research enterprise $5.3 million
Student financial aid $5.5 million
Provide recurring funding $3.0 million
     for central functions*
Services to support students $1.3 million
Restore recurring funding** $0.9 million
Deferred maintenance fund $1.0 million
Subtotal $38.0 million
Cost increases
Administrative activities*** $1.3 million
Regulatory compliance, insurance $0.9 million
Campus grounds, utilities $2.1 million
Subtotal $4.3 million
Total $42.3 million

*Administrative systems, marketing, ombuds, sustainability
**Reiman Gardens, University Museums
***Examples: software license fees, HR, IT