Proposal for tuition, mandatory fees freeze goes to regents

Tuition for resident undergraduates would not increase next year and mandatory fees for all Iowa State students would remain unchanged for a third year under a proposal going to the state Board of Regents this week. Graduate tuition for in-state students would go up $92 (1.2 percent). As proposed, out-of-state students would pay 2.35 percent more in tuition next year -- $440 for undergraduates and $462 for graduates.

The board meets Thursday in Iowa City, but won't make a final decision on 2013-14 tuition and fees until its Dec. 5 meeting. A live audio stream of all public portions of the meeting is online at the board's website.

Resident undergraduates are paying $6,648 in tuition and $1,078 in mandatory fees this year. That sum puts Iowa State in 11th place among its peer group of 11 this academic year.

Differential tuition

Differential tuition plans are exempted from the proposed tuition freeze. Iowa State is proposing differential tuition next year for four student groups: juniors and seniors in agricultural systems technology and industrial technology (both in the ag and biosystems engineering department), and undergraduate and graduate architecture students. Resident AST and ITec upper division students would pay an additional $584 (non-residents $1,052), the third of a revised four-year incremental increase to lower student-to-faculty ratios and provide excellent instruction and cutting-edge lab experiences. Adding a fourth year would align tuition for these programs with others in the College of Engineering.

All resident architecture students would pay a proposed $400 in additional tuition next year -- the second of a three-year plan -- intended to help hire more faculty to address the program's 30 percent enrollment increase since 2007. For out-of-state students, the increase is a proposed $850.

If the differential tuitions are approved, these students would join upper division ISU students in the colleges of Engineering and Business who have paid differential tuition since 2006 and 2009, respectively.

Frederiksen Court expansion

The residence department will ask the board to approve its schematic design and budget ($30.9 million) to add six apartment buildings – housing a total of 720 students -- to the Frederiksen Court student community. Currently that neighborhood includes 23 apartment buildings. The residence department proposes to finance the project through two dormitory revenue bond sales (April 2013 and 2014).

The new buildings would be slightly larger versions of the existing buildings, with six more apartments per building and all single bedrooms.

If approved, site work could begin this winter. A phased timeline proposes that the buildings would be first occupied in the fall 2013 and spring and fall 2014 semesters.

Tuition set aside

The future of tuition set aside as a student financial aid strategy also is on the board's agenda. Last month, the board received a proposal to end the practice and replace it, in part, with a not-yet-in-existence state-funded student aid program that would assist only resident undergraduate students who demonstrate a financial need. The foundations affiliated with Iowa's three public universities also would be asked to conduct five-year campaigns to raise funds for merit-based and other scholarships, also targeting resident undergraduate students.

In other action, the board will consider Iowa State requests to:

  • Enter a 10-year agreement with PUREnergy Partners to lease a small (100 kilowatts) wind turbine to be constructed east of the ISU power plant. The company would keep ownership of the turbine; Iowa State exclusively could purchase all of the output of the turbine, as well as have access to it for teaching, research or demonstrations.
  • Award the title of president emeritus to former president Gregory Geoffroy in recognition of "his bold vision, strong leadership, valuable knowledge and experience, and tenure at Iowa State University which resulted in recruiting and retaining top faculty, staff and students; private fundraising to support faculty positions and student scholarships; and sustaining and advancing the state's position in the growing bioeconomy." Geoffroy served as Iowa State president from to July 2001 to January of this year.
  • Revise the project budget for the School of Education office remodeling in Lagomarcino Hall (up $825,000, to $3.725 million). Construction changes include a new central north entrance/addition to the building, the addition of a fire sprinkler system in the areas being remodeled, and classrooms and office areas to replace those being displaced for the School of Education.