Regents confirm fall tuition rates

Meeting about four weeks before fall semester opens, the state Board of Regents unanimously approved a 3.5% tuition increase for the 2021-22 academic year for Iowa State's resident undergraduates and a 3.9% increase for all others. With a package of mandatory student fees that increases $36, the change from last year adds up to:

  • $318 (3.4%) more for resident undergraduates
  • $418 (3.8%) more for resident graduate students
  • $942 (3.8%) more for nonresident undergraduates
  • $982 (3.8%) more for resident professional students in veterinary medicine
  • $1,000 (3.9%) more for nonresident graduate students
  • $2,116 (3.9%) more for nonresident professional students in veterinary medicine

Board president Mike Richards said board members spend a lot of time setting tuition rates. Praising the universities for their efficient operations, he noted that even with cost-cutting, additional resources are necessary to provide a high-quality education. The general operating appropriation has been the same for two years.

"We've always tried to find the right balance, keeping the cost to our students and their families as affordable as possible. Our goal is to provide quality, affordable and accessible education," he said.

Simplifying differential tuition

In 2018-19, Iowa State began a three-year plan to align numerous differential tuitions in two levels, labeled as A and B, to simplify the structure. With last year's tuition freeze, that process will conclude this academic year instead, with one exception. One additional year (2022-23) is needed for a final phase of differential tuition for sophomores in agricultural systems technology, industrial technology and all Engineering programs. The two levels bring some consistency to a differential tuition web that began during the 2006-07 academic year.

Student financial literacy

The board's chief academic officer, Rachel Boon, reported that CashCourse, the module-based financial literacy training all new ISU undergraduates are encouraged to complete during fall semester, won't be available for free starting in fall 2022. All three regent universities use the CashCourse modules. The National Endowment for Financial Education is transferring the modules to the Higher Education Financial Wellness Alliance, which will make the modules available through paid membership. The three universities will decide whether to purchase a membership or build a module system they can share and personalize. The universities "have a lot of in-house expertise" if they choose that option, Boon said.

"Get vaccinated"

During his comments, Richards, a retired medical doctor, encouraged all regent university faculty, staff and students to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

"The data is clear. If you're vaccinated, your chances of infection decrease, and your chances of severe illness or death drop significantly. Almost all hospitalizations for COVID are among the unvaccinated," he said. "It's really quite simple. Get vaccinated."

Gilman Hall renovation

The board approved Iowa State's request to begin planning an estimated $35 million to $40 million modernization of about one-fourth of Gilman Hall, home to the chemistry department and about 15 general university classrooms. The university also received permission to use an alternate delivery method, which can save time and money and better integrate the design and construction phases. Gilman was completed in 1914, and for the last 40 years has received incremental renovations. The goals of this project include: eliminate part of Gilman's $34 million deferred maintenance backlog, create modern research spaces and faculty and graduate student offices for the chemistry department, consolidate research spaces for psychology faculty (who are spread across multiple buildings), upgrade restrooms and common areas, renovate some of the general university classrooms and update the building's infrastructure. As proposed, the work would be done in phases with the intent of keeping the building in use. The project will be funded with private gifts and university funds.

Community college transfer students

Boon also presented an update on community college student transfers to regent universities, a coordinated effort that goes back to 1973 with the first articulation agreement. Since 2008, a website,, has consolidated a lot of information about student transfers between Iowa community colleges and regent universities. She said Iowa enjoys first-in-the-nation status for the rate of community college transfers who earn a bachelor's degree. She also noted that, for the most recent year available, 43% of community college transfers to a regent university hadn't completed an associate-level degree.


2019-20: Academic status of Iowa CC transfer students to a regent university



Associate in Arts

1,050 (45%)

Associate in Applied Science

152 (6%)

Associate in Science

137 (6%)

No degree


     61+ credits

346 (15%)

     <61 credits

652 (28%)




Other ISU agenda items

The board also approved Iowa State requests to:

  • Appoint assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion and equal opportunity Margo Foreman as interim vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, effective July 17.
  • Begin offering a master of healthcare analytics and operations in the Ivy College of Business this fall. It's a more specific option than the college's master of business analytics, which includes studies in health care, retail, agriculture, manufacturing and other fields.
  • End the master of school mathematics in the math department due to dipping enrollments and faculty retirements, effective immediately.