Most of midyear reversion to be absorbed centrally

About 75 percent -- nearly $4 million -- of Iowa State's fourth-quarter budget cut will be absorbed centrally through one-time savings, President Wendy Wintersteen told the state Board of Regents at its April 12 meeting in Council Bluffs. Key strategies include using one-time, nonrecurring funds; leaving vacant positions (primarily in the university services division) unfilled through June 30; and investing in fewer campus facilities needs as they arise.

The remaining $1.42 million of Iowa State's portion of the state funding reversion will be allocated proportionately across the university divisions as indicated in the table below.

University division

Assigned midyear cut



Academic affairs


Student affairs


Finance/University services


Division leaders decided how to meet their targets and have submitted their reduction plans. Interim vice president for finance and university services Pam Cain said the timing of the budget cut -- with less than 90 days remaining in the fiscal year -- necessitated temporary reductions. But she also noted that with state revenue lagging and rumors of a state funding reduction circulating since last fall, many budget leaders were conservative in their spending and able to identify unused funds to meet this year's cut. Some examples include:

  • Deferring computer replacements for some staff
  • Offering fewer campus training workshops for faculty and staff
  • Prohibiting planning on additional student events


Wintersteen has said the top priority in any cut would be to minimize the impact on students and Iowa State's core missions. For example, the seven colleges, library, central research and ISU Extension and Outreach are held harmless this fiscal year. Student financial aid and critical student support services also are not impacted.

What happens July 1

Until Iowa legislators approve an FY19 state budget that Gov. Kim Reynolds will sign, next year's state funding remains a question mark. Cain said campus discussions include the possibility of a permanent reduction to the budget when the new fiscal year begins July 1. She said those strategies will differ from decisions for the fourth-quarter cut.

President Wintersteen's April 12 presentation to the state Board of Regents

Wintersteen: Regent universities are critical to the state

Wintersteen's budget outline to the regents projects no new state funding on July 1. Iowa State requested $5 million in additional funding, all of it designated for resident undergraduate financial aid. New tuition revenue is an estimated $5.2 million, Wintersteen said. If the midyear cut becomes permanent, Iowa State would start the new fiscal year with about $200,000 less than it had last July 1.

It's a pattern that goes back years, she noted. Since fiscal year 2001, Iowa State received a total of $75 million in increases in state appropriations, but cuts of $110.4 million -- for a net loss of $35.4 million. And, since FY01, ISU has sustained eight midyear budget cuts, including this spring's.

The impact is hurting more than students' educational experience, she told the board.

"We need to think more broadly about what the regent institutions are doing. Job One will always be the creation of these job-ready graduates, but we do so much more through our missions in research and extension," Wintersteen said. "If we're going to help set the future for Iowa by those missions in research and economic development, we need to bring the top faculty and staff here to contribute their intellectual capacity and help build the economy.

"Declining state support puts all that at risk. What will our institutions look like if the state continues to disinvest?

"If Iowa wants a brighter future, it's going to be in large part because of what happens at the regent universities," Wintersteen said.

Regents system cut: What's impacted

Iowa State's $5.4 million reduction represents 3 percent of this year's general university appropriation. In addition, the University of Iowa is absorbing a $5.5 million cut and three regent entities -- the board office, Iowa Public Radio and the three regional study centers -- will share a reduction of just over $34,000. Language in the deappropriation bill specifies that funding to the University of Northern Iowa and the regents' K-12 special schools serving sight- and hearing-impaired students be left intact.

The regents system reduction of $10.9 million is 44 percent of the state's total $25 million budget cut.