Ninety percent of applicants will participate in the retirement incentive program

Ninety percent of the 360 employees who applied to the university's 2020-21 retirement incentive option (RIO) were approved to participate. Following the March 1 application deadline, six cases still were pending earlier this week and the rest -- 28 applications -- were either withdrawn by the applicant, declined or deemed not eligible.

The approved participants represent roughly 5% of those employed at Iowa State during the latest annual October count.


Approved for the RIO

Employee classification



153 (47%)


107 (33%)


66 (20%)


326* (100%)

*Excludes six pending cases


Associate vice president for institutional financial strategy Bonnie Whalen said the retirements are projected to save the university about $42 million over the next three years. Two of the program's three incentives extend the university's retirement contributions or health and dental coverage for three years. The third provides all three for two years.

116 years

Three power plant supervisors with decades of service are RIO participants.

"The RIO implementation team is happy that the program offerings were so well received by the campus community," Whalen said. "We think there was excellent participation.

"We thank all of our retirees for their service to Iowa State," she added.

Employees approved to participate in the RIO have until June 30 to retire from the university.


Incentive of choice

Retirement incentive


Two years: Medical and dental coverage and employer retirement contributions

151 (46%)

Three years: Employer retirement contributions

52 (16%)

Three years: Medical and dental coverage

123 (38%)


326* (100%)

*Excludes six pending cases


The RIO program was one piece of a broader plan announced last summer to trim operating budgets in the face of reduced state appropriations and tuition revenue. It's a voluntary program for employees who are benefits-eligible and meet age and university service requirements. Eligibility for the medical and dental options also required employees to have been enrolled in the university's plans for at least five years. At the time it was announced, university leaders estimated 1,200 employees met the requirements.