Regents approve tuition changes for 2017-18

The state Board of Regents approved a tuition increase proposal on Dec. 5 that will raise Iowa State tuition next year 2 percent for resident undergraduates and 3 percent for all others. It also will put in motion three-year differential tuition increases for juniors, seniors and graduate students in five academic programs and adjust several previously approved tuition differentials for consistency.

The board approved the increases on a 9-0 vote and without discussion, including no acknowledgment of requests from Iowa State's student government and Faculty Senate to delay the tuition vote a month. In the last two weeks, both groups asked the board to hold off on voting until it had studied a two-tiered (underclassmen/upperclassmen) differential tuition plan based not on academic program but on class level and progress within programs.

President Steven Leath first mentioned the more comprehensive approach during his annual address in September and the provost's office involved students and faculty this fall to develop some specifics. But Gov. Terry Branstad subsequently expressed concern about higher college costs for juniors and seniors, and university leaders shifted their focus to differential tuition for upper division students in specific, high-cost programs.

Following the board's vote, ISU Student Government president Cole Staudt expressed his frustration. Postponing the vote "to give the comprehensive model a full vetting" and consider the long-term effects of both differential tuition models "would have caused no harm," he said.

"I trusted that [board members] listened to us and would make a decision after gathering all the facts. That trust has been broken," he said.

Regent president Bruce Rastetter said the board isn't likely to support a tuition proposal that makes school more expensive for all juniors and seniors regardless of the program they're in.

Approved 2017-18 tuition rates



Standard base tuition

Resident undergraduate



Nonresident undergraduate



Resident graduate



Nonresident graduate



Resident vet medicine*



Nonresident vet medicine*



*Excludes 12-month fourth year

Differential tuitions

A three-year implementation will begin next year on differential tuition for juniors, seniors and graduate students in five programs: animal science, biology, computer science, industrial design and natural resource ecology and management. The differentials -- $1,600 in the undergraduate programs and $1,124 in the graduate programs after three years -- reflect higher instruction costs. Next year's increase is $534 for undergraduates and $374 for graduates.

The 2017-18 year is the second in a three-year plan in which all international students will pay an additional $500 per year above nonresident tuition increases. When fully implemented, the differential will be $1,500.

Iowa State also will adjust several previously approved tuition differentials for consistency:

  • Raise the differential tuition rate for bachelor of architecture students to the same level as the five undergraduate programs above. Architecture students have paid differential tuition since the 2012-13 academic year, currently about $1,250. To reach a $1,600 differential in three years, an additional $98 for residents and $106 for nonresidents will be assessed in year one.
  • Raise differential tuition for upper division Business students over three years to match that for upper division students in Engineering, ag systems technology and industrial technology (currently a difference of about $560 for resident students). Next year, junior and senior Business students will pay an additional $190 (resident) or $180 (nonresidents).

New president for UNI

Following closed-session interviews with three finalists for the University of Northern Iowa presidency, the board announced its selection of Mark Nook as UNI's 11th president, effective Feb. 1, 2017. Nook currently serves as chancellor at Montana State University, Billings. He earned a master's degree in astrophysics (1983) at Iowa State.

Other Iowa State business

In other ISU-related business, the board:

  • Approved 42 faculty development assignments during fiscal year 2018. The list includes 13 projects that will last for the academic year and 29 that will last for six months or less.
  • Approved a schematic design, project description and budget ($84 million) for the Student Innovation Center, to be built north of Hoover Hall. The project will be paid for with $44 million in private gifts and $40 million in state appropriations, spread over four fiscal years, 2017-20, as approved by the 2015 Legislature. The anticipated construction timeline is summer 2017 through January 2020.
  • Approved the naming of the Black Cultural Center on Welch Avenue as the George Jackson Cultural Center in memory of the former assistant vice president of student affairs and assistant dean of the Graduate College. Jackson retired from Iowa State in 2009 and died in July.
  • Approved the university's purchase of 78 acres immediately south of the ISU Research Park from Ames' Hunziker family for about $2.5 million. This includes approximately nine acres previously transferred to the university in 2015 so that infrastructure improvements could begin as part of the park's third phase.
  • Approved an $11.4 million renovation of the bathrooms in six Richardson Court residence halls: Barton, Birch, Freeman, Lyon, Roberts and Welch halls, to be completed during the summers of 2017 and 2018 and funded by dormitory system funds.
  • Approved two renovation projects for the Wallace and Wilson residence halls: a $3.3 million replacement of 1,280 windows and a $2.7 million effort to replace the flooring in student rooms and lighting in the corridors and paint the building interiors. The work also will take place during the summers of 2017 and 2018, and be funded by dormitory system funds.
  • Approved three leases with the city of Ames for university land the city operates as public parks. They are: 67 acres for Brookside Park on Sixth Street, 26 acres for Stuart Smith Park on University Boulevard (20-year leases for both) and four acres for Franklin Park on South Franklin Avenue in west Ames (4.5-year lease). If the city opts not to purchase the Franklin property during the lease period, Iowa State intends to sell the Franklin property in 2021.