Regents approve tuition, fee rates for fall

Iowa State students will pay between 3.7% and 4.8% more in tuition and fees next year, following the state Board of Regents' final approval of 2019-20 tuition and mandatory fee increases June 6 in Ames. For resident undergraduates, the increase is $331; for out-of-state undergraduates, it's $1,115. Graduate students will pay $485 (in-state) and $1,185 (out-of-state) more next year, respectively.

Last month, the board announced tuition increases that respond to the 2019 Legislature's operating support for the regent universities and fall within the board's five-year tuition plan for predictability.

The table below provides specifics on increases for this fall.

2019-20 base tuition increases for ISU students


Tuition-only increase

Tuition/fees price (increase)

Iowa residents




$302 (3.9%)

$9,320 (3.7%)


$456 (4.9%)

$10,990 (4.6%)

   Vet Med*

$932 (4%)

$25,498 (3.9%)





$1,086 (4.9%)

$24,508 (4.8%)


$1,156 (4.9%)

$25,952 (4.8%)

   Vet Med*

$2,050 (4%)

$54,582 (4%)

*Years 1-3 of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program

This fall begins year two of a three-year plan to align numerous differential tuitions at both the undergraduate and graduate levels into two categories: $1,600 and $2,612 ($3,026 for nonresident and international students) annually when fully implemented. Most undergraduate differential tuitions begin in the junior year, but beginning this fall, Iowa State will charge the differential to sophomores in engineering disciplines and the agricultural systems technology and industrial technology programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

All Iowa State students will pay an additional $29.50 in mandatory fees next year, for a total of $1,277.90 for most students. An $18.50 increase to the student activities fee provides additional support for student government ($2.50) and new operations support for the student newspaper ($16), replacing the Iowa State Daily's funding contract with student government. An $11 increase to the student services fee will help cover cost increases in the CyRide bus system.

The $1,277.90 fee is standard for most undergraduates and reflects a $290 technology fee. This annual fee varies from $244 to $506, depending on the program.

State operating support

The board agreed to allocate $4 million each to Iowa State and the universities of Iowa and Northern Iowa from a new $12 million state appropriation for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The appropriation, which is separate from each school's general university appropriation, is to be used "to support new strategic initiatives, meet needs caused by enrollment increases, meet the demand for new courses and services, fund new but unavoidable or mandated cost increases, and support any other initiatives important to the core functions of the universities." The board sought $18 million in additional funding, $7 million of which it would have directed to Iowa State.

President's compensation

The board completed performance evaluations of the university presidents June 4-5. Wanting to sync its employment agreements with the campus leaders on the fiscal calendar, the board extended its employment agreement with President Wendy Wintersteen through June 30, 2023. Her five-year term was scheduled to end in November 2022. The board's 2017 agreement with Wintersteen calls for a $40,000 (7.3%) salary increase this Nov. 20, to $590,000.

The board also extended its three-year deferred compensation plan for Wintersteen about 2.5 years, through June 30, 2023. The original agreement called for deferred compensation that reaches $200,000 in year three (Nov. 20, 2019-Nov. 19, 2020). The board approved extending this amount annually through June 2023.

"There's a strong feeling [among board members] that we have the right individuals to lead our public universities. Together, they are a very strong team that can help lead the entire state of Iowa regents system now and into the future," said board president Mike Richards. "We want to be clear and transparent to all that this is the team we want to be here now and in the foreseeable future."

In other business, the board approved Iowa State requests:

  • To raise its undergraduate application fee $10, to $50 for U.S. applicants and $60 for international students. The former will help cover additional costs of joining the national "common application" and "coalition application" portals, which allow students to apply to multiple colleges and universities through a single web portal and expose Iowa State to larger prospective student audiences. The latter will help cover higher overseas mailing costs.
  • For a $21.2 million, six-building feed mill and grain science complex on the Curtiss Farm south of U.S. Highway 30 at State Avenue. It will include a feed mill tower, grain handling and storage complex, warehouse, education building, scale and sampling building, and biosecurity/vehicle wash building. Construction begins this fall and continues into spring 2021.
  • For a $1 million addition (to $6.8 million) to the new poultry research and teaching facility on South State Avenue the board approved last November. The change adds two buildings for teaching and research on turkeys, both of which also could be used for chicken research, as needed. Work at the site began last fall and will continue this fall with the turkey buildings.
  • To begin planning for an estimated $14 million, multi-phased replacement of a power system (substations, switchgear, load centers and motor control centers) in the power plant, critical to the university's cogeneration of steam, electricity and chilled water to cool buildings.