FY19 salaries set for 1 percent increase across the board

All Iowa State employees with satisfactory performance reviews will receive at least a 1 percent raise in fiscal year 2019, under proposed salary guidelines released last week.

"Merit pay increases are critically important to recognize our faculty and staff who work hard every day to provide an exceptional experience for our students and advance excellence in our academic, research and extension programs," President Wendy Wintersteen said. "Competitive salaries will continue to be a high priority as we compete nationally to retain and recruit the best faculty and staff."

The FY19 salary proposal, detailed May 25 in a memo from senior vice presidents to budget leaders, calls for an across-the-board 1 percent pay increase effective July 1 for faculty, professional and scientific staff, contract staff and post-doctoral researchers. Raises up to 10 percent can be provided for extraordinary performance, retention and adjustments based on market rates or equity. Any pay increase greater than 10 percent requires approval from a senior vice president. 

Allocated funds for institutional administrative costs -- academic administration and support, business services, facilities services, IT services, library services and student services -- will receive new funding to cover a 1 percent salary hike. All other units will use their own resources to pay for raises. All units must use reallocations to fund any increase beyond 1 percent. Tuition increases, set to be approved at the June 7 state Board of Regents meeting, will provide an estimated $10 million in new revenue in FY19, according to the memo. Salary increases must be entered in the online budget system by June 7.

The proposal's parameters, as required by the university's salary adjustments policy, apply to all fund sources, including positions supported entirely by grants. It excludes Ames Lab employees, whose salaries are set by federal guidelines. The regents board's executive director would need to sign off on the proposal, under a plan set for the board's approval at next week's meeting.

Employees with unsatisfactory performance will be placed on an improvement plan. Those who satisfy the requirements of the plan are eligible for a 1 percent increase in January. Employees hired after May 1 aren't eligible for an FY19 raise.

Merit staff increase

Under the second year of a two-year collective bargaining agreement, merit employees also will receive a 1 percent raise on July 1. At their meeting next week, regents will consider a board staff recommendation to give merit employees no additional performance-based step increases in FY19.

Changes to a state collective bargaining law made in 2017 allow the board to determine whether to provide step increases, which previously were given to all merit employees with satisfactory performance on the anniversary of their start date. Iowa State recommended no step increases, to ensure all employee groups received a similar base raise.

Other changes

The salary matrix for P&S staff will remain unchanged for FY19. However, in a provision new this year, P&S staff making the maximum for their pay grade range will receive an amount equal to 1 percent of their salary in a one-time payment. If a 1 percent raise would boost a P&S worker's salary past the maximum, their salary will increase to the cap and they will receive a one-time payment equal to any portion of the raise not applied to their base salary.

The FY19 parameters also add $50 to each of the salary increases that accompany faculty promotions, which are separate from raises for performance, retention, or market and equity considerations. Those new incremental increases are as follows:


Salary increase

Distinguished Professor


University Professor


Morrill Professor


Full professor


Associate professor


Term faculty, second level

(clinical professor)


Term faculty, first level

(senior lecturer, clinical associate professor)