March 24, 2011

Regents approve 5 percent tuition hike for in-state students

by Anne Krapfl

On a 7-2 vote, the state Board of Regents approved tuition and fee rates for next year at its March 23 meeting in Ames. At Iowa State, resident students, both undergraduate and graduate, will pay 5 percent more in tuition; out-of-state students will pay 3.5 percent more. The tuition increase equates to $306 for resident undergraduates and $356 for resident graduate students, and $612 for out-of-state undergraduates and $644 for out-of-state graduate students.

Regents Michael Gartner and Ruth Harkin voted against the increase.

With the new recreation facility scheduled to open in August, all Iowa State students will pay an additional $180 per year in mandatory fees -- roughly a 20 percent increase over current fees -- to begin to pay off the bond debt on that facility. As a result, combined tuition and fees will go up about 7 percent for resident students and 4.3 percent for nonresident students. A resident undergraduate will pay $7,485 for the year; a resident graduate student will pay $8,507.

Gartner proposed a "rollback" plan that would incrementally reduce the tuition increase -- for in-state undergraduates only -- from a 5 percent maximum if the Iowa Legislature were to approve higher appropriations this spring than what's in Gov. Terry Branstad's proposed budget. (The Branstad budget reduces funding for the three regent universities by $36.7 million, or 7.6 percent, from current levels). Gartner said he hoped to demonstrate to elected officials "the impact of their decision on their constituents depending on if those numbers [appropriations] rise or fall."

Other regents expressed unwillingness to try to "make a deal" with the legislature at this late date and some urgency to set tuition rates so prospective students can make decisions and schools can finalize financial aid packages for students. The board did not support Gartner's proposal.

Differential tuition

The board also approved Iowa State's three requests for differential tuition next year. They are:

  • Juniors and seniors in both the agricultural systems technology and industrial technology majors, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will pay $584 extra next fall, the first of three annual increments.
  • In the third and final year of a request, juniors and seniors in the College of Business will pay an additional $500 above their peers in other colleges.
  • Business graduate students will pay an additional $1,600 next year to make up the difference between undergraduate and graduate tuitions in the college as a result of the undergraduate differential tuition.

Following four years of differential increases (2006-07 through 2009-10), juniors and seniors in the College of Engineering continue to pay about $2,000 more annually in differential tuition.

FY12 Tuition and mandatory fees

Tuition only
and fees
Iowa residents
Business upper division*$7,99012.0%$9,10712.9%
AST/IT upper division*$6,99214.6%$8,28514.9%
Engineering upper division$8,4945.0%$9,7876.4%
Business graduate*$9,07627.5%$10,14726.7%
Engineering graduate$8,6165.0%$9,9096.4%
Vet Med, years 1-3$17,4565.0%$18,5335.8%
Vet Med, year 4$25,8035.0%$26,8805.5%
Non-resident students
Business upper division*$19,8446.2%$20,9616.8%
AST/IT upper division*$18,8646.8%$20,1577.3%
Engineering upper division$20,2643.5%$21,5574.2%
Business graduate*$20,79212.1%$21,86312.5%
Engineering graduate$20,2803.5%$21,5734.2%
Vet Med, years 1-3$39,9903.1%$41,0673.5%
Vet Med, year 4$48,0393.1%$49,1163.4%

*Reflects differential tuitions
AST/IT: Agricultural Systems Technology and Industrial Technology majors

New room and board rates

The board took a first look at proposed room and board rates that would take effect May 9. Iowa State will offer students about 30 room or suite rates and eight apartment options, reflecting variables such as building, number of roommates and air conditioning.

Proposed residence hall rates vary from a 0.98 percent decrease to an increase of 5.19 percent. Campus apartment rates would rise between 1.9 percent and 3.8 percent. ISU's three student housing councils support the proposed rate increases.

Following a review of its meal plans last summer, ISU Dining revised its meal plan options. It eliminated weekly plans (semester plans remain) and will offer five meal plan options, three of which are new. The two existing plans would go up a proposed 1.91 percent and 3.62 percent.

Dining dollar packages would remain the same, with up to a 10 percent discount on the dollar for 600 dining dollars. Meal block plans -- designed as an on-campus meal option for campus apartment or off-campus students -- would increase between 13 and 14 percent, as proposed. Last summer's review showed that meal block plans were inequitable compared to the meal plan rates on-campus students are required to purchase. All meal block plans still include a discount, between 6 and 9 percent, off the cash price of a meal.

For purposes of year-to-year comparisons, Iowa State uses a double room in Richardson Court and a meal plan of 225 meals/semester and $200 dining dollars. This package would increase a proposed $224, or 3.0 percent, next year.

In its five-year plan to the board, the residence department reported it opened fall 2010 semester with 9,403 students; a third-highest (ever) occupancy rate of 97.8 percent. Department officials anticipate an occupancy rate of 95.1 percent next year, with a gradual decline to 87.6 percent (727 fewer students) by fall 2016. Occupany rates are based on enrollment projections (which are declining), a five-year average on campus housing retention rates, and historical "capture" rates of new students just out of high school.

Honorary degree, stadium scoreboard

In other business, the regents:

  • Approved the former "miscellaneous" student fees (those not related to tuition) which, at the board's request, have been recategorized as either academic or administrative. Iowa State will raise by 5 percent the per-credit-hour rate for extension/continuing education workshops and summer course fees at the Iowa Lakeside Lab field station near Spencer. A 5 percent increase also will be applied to the new student programs fee and the enrollment fee for graduate students who have completed their coursework but not their thesis work.
  • Approved Iowa State's request to award an Honorary Doctor of Science degree to University of Arizona president Robert Shelton for both "pioneering work in superconductivity and magnetism" and "outstanding scientific and academic leadership in major administrative positions at several universities." Shelton was an ISU faculty member in the physics department from 1978 to 1987. He served at the universities of California, Davis (1987-2001) and North Carolina, Chapel Hill (2001-06), prior to his presidency at Arizona. Shelton will be honored at this spring's commencement.
  • Approved an increase in the not-to-exceed cost of a new video scoreboard and sound system at Jack Trice Stadium, from $4 million to $5 million. The increase is due primarily to revised costs to build the necessary support structure above the Jacobson Building, where the system will be installed.