Iowa State University's undergraduate student enrollment has increased 26% over last five years. While Iowa State is proud of this high demand and growth, it isn't sustainable without a significant increase in resources. This year, Iowa State is requesting a 2% increase ($3.7 million) in recurring funds from the Iowa Legislature to address critical capacity needs associated with the growth and to advance the quality of academic programs and student services.
The request comes in an effort to keep an Iowa State education accessible and affordable, while maintaining quality. However, years of lagging state funding have put the quality of the Iowa State experience at risk.
As Iowa State enrollment has increased to record levels, state appropriations per resident student has rapidly declined. In 2008 when record growth began, the university received $12,700 per resident student from the state. At that time, 50% of revenue came from the state and the other half from tuition and fees. Today, the university receives $9,400 per resident student from the state which has dramatically shifted the budget to less than 30% of revenue coming from state funds and nearly 70% from tuition and fees.
The Veterinary Diagnostic Lab (VDL) is also seeing growth and a need for expansion. As one of the 12 core labs for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network and the only one in the Midwest, the VDL is a national leader in protecting animal and human health. The VDL epitomizes the land-grant mission of applying world-class technology to real-world problems as it did when the VDL lead the nation's response to the avian influenza outbreak.
The caseload at the VDL has doubled over the past five years, now processing more than 75,000 cases from livestock and poultry producers across the country and conducts approximately 1.5 million tests each year; many with same-day results. The timely, comprehensive, and high-quality diagnosis of diseases is critical to serving the state's $17 billion animal agriculture industry.
The 40 year-old facility, originally built for 11 faculty and 20 technical staff members, now houses 25 faculty and more than 115 technical staff. The space is grossly outdated and potentially hazardous. A state-of-the-art facility is critical to continue the early detection and effective response to diseases that affect Iowa producers and beyond.
As a result, Iowa State is requesting $100 million over five years
in state funding to build an updated standalone facility to keep pace with biosecurity and service needs.