Uncertainty about state funding, tuition revenue shapes salary parameters

In the face of uncertain state funding and tuition revenue, Iowa State leaders have shared partial salary increase parameters for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. Additional guidelines will be shared later – likely not until early November.

Faculty, professional and scientific staff, contract employees and post docs with satisfactory performance evaluations are to receive a minimum performance-based salary increase of 1 percent on July 1. Employees who receive evaluations that are less than satisfactory will not receive a salary increase in July.

This information was shared with employees this morning in an email co-authored by President Steven Leath, Faculty Senate past-president Kevin Schalinske and P&S Council president Amy Tehan.

Helpful info for supervisors and employees

The salary parameters document, an FAQ and SVP-level approval form for market, retention or equity-based salary increases above 1 percent are online.

They advised units that want to recognize above-satisfactory work performances among their employees to hold off on increases above 1 percent until Iowa State's funding picture is clearer. However, salary increases above 1 percent to address market, equity or retention issues are possible on July 1 with approval from a senior vice president.

"Additional guidance with respect to salaries will be issued by Nov. 2," they wrote.

"We understand this is not an ideal policy, but we believe it is necessary as the university works to balance funding uncertainties with mandatory cost increases," they added.

Iowa State's salary adjustment policy, which applies to all funding sources, requires university leaders each year to set minimum and maximum increases (or parameters) for employees receiving a satisfactory performance evaluation. This year is unusual in that the minimum and the threshold, increases above which require senior vice president-level approval, are the same, 1 percent.

Other budget variables

Lengthy appropriations debates at the statehouse and uncertainty about legislators' support for the state Board of Regents' performance-based funding model are not the only issues creating budget questions for ISU leaders.

  • In December, the regents approved a third straight tuition freeze for resident undergraduates, which last fall accounted for 54 percent of all Iowa State students.
  • Two initiatives designed to better serve Iowa State's student veterans, military personnel and their family members by assessing in-state tuition rates take effect on July 1 and will further reduce tuition revenue by an estimated $4.5-$5.5 million. The actual impact won't be known until the eligible students arrive in August. The initiatives are the federal Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 and the university's state designation as a Home Base Iowa Certified Higher Academic Military Partner.
  • Inflationary and mandatory cost increases for services and supplies -- such as software licenses, city services, insurance -- will require an estimated $2.3 million in FY16.

Merit employees contract

July 1 marks the start of a new two-year contract between the state of Iowa and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Iowa chapter, which covers nearly all university merit employees. Merit salary increases at Iowa State in FY16 will cost an estimated $2 million. The contract calls for an increase of 2.5 percent on July 1. Merit employees who haven't reached the maximum salary in their pay grades will receive a 4.5 percent "step" increase on their anniversary dates at the university.

Promotion increases

Salary increases associated with FY16 faculty promotions ($6,500 for Distinguished Professors, $6,000 for University and Morrill Professors, $5,675 for full professors and $4,700 for associate professors) and increases due to P&S reclassifications don't replace or eliminate performance-based increases.