Regents approve FY18 budget, three improvement projects

Iowa State's general fund operating budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 includes net incremental revenue of $14.2 million. This includes $26 million in additional tuition and $1.5 million more in indirect cost recoveries on sponsored research, offset by $13.3 million less in state operating appropriations than a year ago. The loss in state support amounts to about a 5.5 percent reduction from a year ago.

At $722.9 million, Iowa State's general fund budget is just 2 percent larger than a year ago. The two largest revenue sources in it are tuition and fees (63 percent) and state support (31 percent).

Regent university budgets were approved by the state Board of Regents at its Aug. 2 telephonic meeting, based out of the board's Urbandale office.

The university will invest the new revenue in its four broad priorities, the overarching goals in the university's 2017-22 strategic plan:

  • Maintain access and enhance the student experience, including student success
  • Expand research to address the state and the world's grand challenges
  • Support economic development and outreach to improve the quality of life for Iowans
  • Ensure a welcoming, safe and inclusive campus

In budget-related remarks to the board, interim President Ben Allen called 2017 "one of the most challenging and disappointing legislative sessions for Iowa State in recent history."

Text of interim President Allen's remarks to the regents

Allen said an evolving pattern of declining state support has shifted the burden to students and their families as well as ISU faculty and staff. He said the decision to award only targeted salary increases this year was a difficult one.

"It creates a burden for our employees, who should at the very least be able to rely on annual salary increases to keep up with inflation," he said. "It's also concerning because inevitably the lack of raises will drive some of our faculty and staff to leave, putting our quality at risk."

Allen noted that state funding no longer adequately supplements the lower tuition rates charged to resident students and thanked the board for its willingness to take a comprehensive look at the regent universities' tuition structures. (The board's tuition task force will hear five-year tuition presentations on the three campuses on Aug. 7, 9 and 14.)

FY18 funding priorities

Student financial aid

$6.8 million

Strategic priorities related to enrollment growth*

$2.8 million

Investments in five academic programs** (year 1 of differential tuition)

$1.1 million

Investments in international student programming (year 2 of differential tuition)

$0.9 million

Salary increases for merit employees, per state contract

$1.1 million

Targeted salary increases for faculty, P&S, contract employees

$0.97 million

Operating two new buildings***

$1.5 million

Mandatory increases related to contracts, inflation, compliance

$0.75 million


$15.92 million

Nutrient Research Center removed from general fund support

-$1.72 million


$14.2 million

*Examples include faculty hires; grad student retention; research support, investments in student health, wellness and safety
**Animal science, biology, computer science, industrial design and natural resource ecology and management
***Bessey addition, Advanced Teaching and Research Building

Big picture

The university's overall FY18 budget is just over $1.5 billion. In addition to the operating budget, it features $783 million in restricted funds, which include sponsored research, endowment income, building projects, sales and services, and auxiliary units such as athletics, residence, printing, parking, recreation services, bookstore, Reiman Gardens, Iowa State Center and the Memorial Union.

Capital appropriations

Iowa State will receive the following appropriations this year for specific building projects:

  • Biosciences facilities (Bessey addition, Advanced Teaching and Research Building): $19.5 million in the third of four years
  • Student Innovation Center: $6 million in the second of six years

President search update

Chief operating officer for the board Mark Braun confirmed that advertisements for the Iowa State president position went out on July 6. He called the time since then "an active recruitment period," though he also noted that traditionally the most applications come in during the last few days of the recruiting period. Aug. 24 is the application deadline for "best consideration," with the search committee scheduled to meet on Sept. 12.

Executive director search update

Interim executive director of the board Keith Saunders reported that advertisements for a new executive director and chief executive officer have been placed. The search committee will begin reviewing applications on Aug. 15, with the goal of presenting a list of finalists to the board at its September meeting. Former director Robert Donley retired on July 15.

Project approval

The board also gave final approval to these Iowa State projects:

  • Schematic design and budget ($2.75 million) for a radiation therapy addition to the Veterinary Medicine small animal hospital for treating pets with cancer. The premanufactured structure includes a shielded treatment room containing radiation equipment, control room, storage and mechanical space. Construction is scheduled to begin in October, with occupancy within five months. The funding sources are university funds, a capital appropriation and private gifts.
  • Schematic design and budget ($2.2 million) for a remodel and addition to the southwest corner of Sukup Hall to add an in-floor vehicle chassis dynamometer in the existing vehicle power systems lab. Construction is scheduled from January to June 2018. About 80 percent of the funding is private gifts, with the rest university funds.
  • Project description and budget ($2.1 million) to upgrade the recreation fields east of the Maple Willow Larch residence complex. The project includes regrading the fields to improve drainage, installing an automatic irrigation system and adding lighting so the fields can be used after sunset by sports clubs and intramural programs. It will be funded by recreation services.