Regents approve ISU tuition package

Resident undergraduates will pay $284 more -- or $7,740 -- in tuition for the academic year that begins in August, following the state Board of Regents' approval of tuition rates June 7 in Cedar Falls. That 3.8 percent increase is slightly less than the 4 percent increase approved for all other Iowa State students -- resident graduate students, all non-Iowa students and veterinary medicine students.

Mandatory fees will go up $68.50, to $1,248.40. It includes $30 increases to both the technology fee (for cyber security and upgrades to the student information system) and building fee (for renovations to the Memorial Union's top three floors), and an $8.50 increase to the student services fee for additional support to CyRide. The baseline tuition and mandatory fees for a resident undergraduate in 2018-19 is $8,988.40.

Iowa State's approved tuition proposal includes two other components:

  • The final year of a three-phase, $542 annual tuition differential assessed all international students ($1,500 when implemented).
  • A three-year plan to align Iowa State's various differential tuitions in two levels: $1,600 (all students) and $2,612 ($3,026 for nonresidents, including international) annually when fully implemented. Because some of the programs already have differential tuitions, it will take one to three years to get all impacted programs to their new rate.

The tuition increases will provide an estimated $10.1 million in new revenue in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

New appropriation

The board approved an allocation plan among the three universities for a new $8.3 million appropriation on July 1. The plan stipulates that the funds be used for resident undergraduate financial aid:

  • Iowa State: $3.15 million
  • University of Iowa: $3.15 million
  • University of Northern Iowa: $2 million

The universities' request to the 2018 Iowa Legislature was $12 million for in-state undergraduate aid; $5 million each for ISU and Iowa, and $2 million for UNI.

Wintersteen to donate salary increase to Iowa State

The board also completed annual evaluations of the four institution heads and board executive director Mark Braun.

Commenting on the performance of the three university presidents, board president pro tem Patty Cownie said, " We think they're doing an excellent job. They are able to exchange ideas with each other, they are able to spend time together and make it productive for the universities and their relationships.

"We are very pleased, and proud of them for being able to be such good companions and to represent their universities as well as they do," she added.

President Wendy Wintersteen's five-year employment contract calls for a $25,000 increase to her current $525,000 salary on Nov. 20, her one-year anniversary as president. However, Wintersteen has elected to donate the increase to the ISU Foundation to support student completion grants, student entrepreneurship initiatives and international study abroad experiences.

"I know so many faculty and staff who donate to support ISU and other good causes, and I am pleased to continue my history of giving," she said.

Iowa State update

President Wintersteen's June 7 campus highlights for the state Board of Regents

Alternative index becomes the one

The alternative Regent Admission Index (RAI), used since 2015 for applicants whose high schools don't provide a class rank, will become the sole admissions index for the three regent universities, effective for students admitted for summer 2020.

The original RAI, which the board adopted in 2006, weighted four factors: class rank, grade point average, ACT composite score and high school core courses completed. But a growing number of high schools in Iowa and nationally have dropped the use of class rank, including the high schools attended by 27 percent of resident freshman applicants and 46 percent of all freshman applicants. The alternative index eliminates class rank as a consideration and adjusts the weighting.

The Legislature's administrative rules review committee also needs to approve this policy change.

New degree programs

The board also gave final approval to these new degree programs at Iowa State:

  • Ph.D. in population sciences in animal health, in the department of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, starting this fall.
  • Master of Real Estate Development, offered collaboratively by the colleges of Business and Design (coursework-only degree delivered over 21 months with online and in-person classes), starting fall 2019.
  • B.S. in actuarial science, offered by the finance department in the Ivy College of Business in partnership with the departments of math and statistics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, starting fall 2019.
  • B.S. in data science, offered this fall in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. It will include existing courses in computer science and statistics, as well as new courses in data science.

The board approved terminating Iowa State's M.S. in landscape architecture due to low interest and enrollment in the research-based, thesis program. The department also offers a professional Master of Landscape Architecture.

In other Iowa State business, the full board gave final approval to the university's sale of 68 acres of farmland to the ISU Research Park for $2.1 million, in parcels as needed for phase 3 development at the park.

Future building projects

The board's property and facilities committee approved four Iowa State construction projects that will go before the full board in August. They are:

  • A request to begin planning an estimated $11 million renovation to the top three floors in the Memorial Union for student program offices. For many years, these floors were hotel guest rooms; for the last two academic years, they served temporarily as a student residence. Funding would come from a new $30 annual student fee.
  • A request to begin planning an estimated $21.2 million project at the Curtiss Farm in South Ames to construct a feed mill tower, grain storage buildings and education and outreach facilities. The new complex would replace three existing and outdated feed mills and meet the university's need for affordable yet customized livestock feed. The project would be covered by private gifts.
  • A budget ($2.3 million) and description for plans to renovate 11,000 square feet on Curtiss Hall's third floor for use by the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Liberal Arts and Sciences. It would provide offices for CALS development and IT staff and English department lecturers and graduate students. College funds and private gifts would fund the project.
  • A schematic design and budget ($28 million) for a four-story, 40,000-square-foot east addition to the Gerdin Building that would include classrooms and collaboration space, faculty and graduate student offices, and spaces for curricular, co-curricular and special events. University funds and private gifts would cover the costs. The construction timeline is late 2018 through late 2020.