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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

May 10, 2006

Regents open to student surcharge or additional tuition for 2006-07

by Anne Krapfl

Additional tuition or some kind of surcharge is possible for students this fall, following the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, meeting May 4 in Cedar Falls. Board president Michael Gartner directed university leaders and board staff to come up with a proposal for "other academic revenues" for regents to review next month.

The directive came during a discussion among board members, faculty and staff from the three regent universities about pay policies and the lack of state funds to sustain competitive salaries for faculty and staff. The university representatives all touched on different challenges related to compensation: inability to retain top-notch employees, cost to a university when a top faculty researcher leaves for another job, depletion of professional development funds, inadequate tuition reimbursement funds for employees, morale issues created by different pay policies for union and non-union staff doing the same kinds of jobs.

According to a summary document, faculty salaries at Iowa's regent universities fall between fifth (Northern Iowa) and 11th (Iowa State) among the universities' respective peer groups. Iowa is ninth in its peer group. Regent Teresa Wahlert also asked the universities to provide a dollar figure for what it would cost to move each school into the top quartile among peers.

Phased retirement

The regents also renewed the phased retirement program for a five-year period (beginning July 1, 2007). They approved three notable changes to the program:

  • Eligibility for all employees (faculty, P&S, Merit) will be the same: 57 years of age and 15 years of service. Currently, Merit staff requesting phased retirement must be 60 years old with 20 years of service.
  • Fulltime benefits coverage (health, life and disability insurance; and TIAA-CREF contributions) will be extended from four years to the full five years of the phasing period.
  • During the phase-in period, participants may access their TIAA-CREF (or substitute) retirement funds, in any way permitted by the retirement carrier or board of regents policy, in order to supplement their incomes. They can't use more than 99 percent of their account balances.

Cash bonuses

In the first of two required readings, the regents discussed a proposal that would authorize regent universities to develop programs for awarding one-time cash awards to non-union P&S staff for exceptional work. The University of Iowa piloted such a program this year; the proposal would add new language to the board's policy manual. At the request of President Gregory Geoffroy, the regents modified the proposal to include faculty in the employee group eligible for the bonuses. Geoffroy noted that some of the one-time dollars in the state appropriation for FY07 possibly could be used to recognize faculty excellence.

The board will make a decision on the proposal at its June 21-22 meeting in Okoboji.

In other business, the board:

  • Gave Iowa State permission to begin planning, including selecting an architect, for a new chemistry facility. It would be either an addition to Gilman Hall or a building adjacent to it. The estimated cost is $87 million, of which about $69.5 million would be state funds and $17.5 million would be private gifts.
  • Approved ISU's request to purchase a $2.5 million video scoreboard system, including a "ribbon" board around the inner concourse, for Hilton Coliseum. The Daktronics system will be installed this summer. It will be paid for over seven years with funds from the athletic department's marketing rights contract with Learfield Communications. The current Hilton scoreboard was installed in 1997 and has been paid for since 2002.
  • Approved parking permit fees for the year that begins July 1. Costs for annual permits will go up 1.9 percent to 2.2 percent.


Regents president Michael Gartner directed university leaders and board staff to develop a proposal to raise additional revenues for the board to review in June.