Regents opt to delay 2018-19 tuition discussion

The state Board of Regents' October meeting agenda perhaps is as notable for what's not on it -- tuition proposals -- as what is. When the board meets Oct. 18-19 in Cedar Falls, it will not complete its traditional first read of proposed tuition rates for next year.

Board president Michael Richards said board members need additional time to consider tuition levels for the 2018-19 year. He said the board is committed to addressing tuition increases one time this year, a "key message" delivered repeatedly during tuition discussions around the state in August.

"We do not have a timetable for when we will do a first reading of tuition, but we will do it as soon as we have a proposal with which we are comfortable," Richards said in a statement.

"We will not revisit 2018-19 tuition levels once they have been established," he added.

More info

The 2004 Iowa Legislature removed a statutory deadline on the board to set tuition rates for the following year. Previously, the board needed to approve any tuition changes by November. For the last decade-plus, the board reviewed tuition proposals in October and approved rates in December.

University leaders presented their 2018-19 tuition proposals to the board in August as part of five-year funding plans. The Iowa State and Iowa proposals for resident undergraduates are 7 percent and 7.1 percent increases, respectively; for nonresident undergraduates, 4 percent and 2.1 percent increases, respectively. Northern Iowa's 2018-19 proposed tuition increase ranges from 3.9 percent to 11.7 percent, dependent on the size of the university's state appropriation.

Discussion items

Following are a few items the board is scheduled to address.

Board members will interview one finalist, current chief operating officer Mark Braun, for its executive director post Wednesday afternoon. An announcement about the next executive director could follow on Thursday afternoon.

Iowa State will seek permission to begin planning an estimated $750,000 of renovations at the Knoll, the president's residence. Possible improvements could be door repairs, replacements and modifications; hardwood floor and carpet replacement; kitchen updates; rear deck replacement; hall and bathroom fixture and finishes updates; and painting. Funding sources would be private gifts and university funds. With the goal of completing this work before the next president moves in, this proposal should receive committee and full board attention this month.

The board will be asked to endorse naming the Business college the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business, in recognition of a $50 million gift from the Ivys announced last month.

Two Iowa State projects presented to the board's property and facilities committee last month will go to the full board next week. The first is a request to begin plans for improvements (flexible, multisport layouts; lighting; irrigation and support facilities) to 37 acres of recreation fields east of Jack Trice Stadium. The estimated cost, $8 million to $12 million, would be funded by recreation services funds. The second is to begin planning for an estimated 50,000 square feet (one or more new buildings) for poultry teaching and research at the Poultry Science Farm on South State Avenue. The estimated cost, $5 million, would be paid with private gifts.

Committee action

These Iowa State requests will be presented to regent committees next week for recommendation to the full board in December:

  • Open a Center for Multiphase Flow Research and Education (CoMFRE) in the College of Engineering, to formalize a three-year-old interdisciplinary research venture involving 18 research leaders. No state appropriations or tuition would support the center, which would be funded by external grants.
  • Offer a new master of professional practice in dietetics (MPPD), an online, non-thesis program in the food science and human nutrition department. Beginning in 2024, a master's degree will be required to take the Registered Dietitian national exam.
  • Close the Center for Advanced Host Defenses, Immunobiotics and Translational Comparative Medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine, due to diminished external funding and research activity.
  • Replace all windows and blinds in Friley Hall over the next two summers when the building is unoccupied, an estimated $4.8 million project for the residence department.
  • Increase, by $1.2 million, the residence department's window replacement project at Wallace and Wilson halls, due to rising labor and product costs. The new project budget would be just under $4.5 million. Work began last summer and should be completed in summer 2018.
  • Increase, by $950,000, the budget for the College of Veterinary Medicine stereotactic radiation therapy addition, in order to purchase different oncology equipment than initially proposed, add patient recovery space and accommodate higher-than-anticipated bids. The revised project budget is $3.7 million.