Since 2001, the state has cut its investment in Iowa State by more than $35 million, while at the same time, enrollment has increased to record levels. In the past two years alone, legislative
support for Iowa State has been reduced by nearly $17 million.
The state's decision to take back promised funds with just a few weeks left in the academic year is especially difficult. Most of the cuts will be absorbed through efficiencies and reallocations in order to minimize the impact on students; however, the state's divestment in higher education has made tuition increases unavoidable.
Accordingly, the Board presented its first reading of tuition rates for the 2018-19 academic year during their
meeting yesterday. The proposed base increase at Iowa State is 3.8% or $284 for resident undergraduate students and 4% or $852 for nonresident undergraduates. The proposal also includes expanded differential tuition at Iowa State to better align tuition with the high cost of providing engineering, business, technology, and experiential learning-focused programs.
"We heard from a wide variety of constituents, both during our 2017 Tuition Task Force meetings and since, about the need to keep our institutions affordable and accessible," said Board of Regents President Mike Richards. "However, our public universities need financial resources to continue to provide the top-quality education our students expect and deserve."
Iowa State is proud to serve nearly 20,000 Iowa students, more than any other institution; but resident tuition does not cover the full cost of instruction. The
Board's base tuition increase proposal is projected to generate $5.2 million for Iowa State. However, if the $5.4 million midyear reversion is made permanent and no new state funds are appropriated for FY19, Iowa State will face a $200,000 shortfall.
Iowa State University remains committed to a culture of fiscal responsibility - using every tax dollars and tuition dollar wisely and finding innovative ways to operate more efficiently. But the decline of essential state resources jeopardizes Iowa State's exceptional return on investment from career-ready graduates, increased economic activity, research-based innovations, and solutions to local problems.
Final action on the proposed tuition rates is scheduled for the next Board meeting, June 6-7.