Tuition rises for out-of-state students

Zoë Woods

Sean Lundy is a senior from Minnesota studying global resource systems and nutrition and wellness. During his academic career, he has been awarded many scholarships and grants.

Because of that, he was able to more easily afford the college experience. His friends, however, were not as fortunate.

“I had a lot of friends from Minnesota that haven’t been lucky with scholarships and grants, that are walking away from Iowa State with astronomical amounts of debt,” Lundy said.

University President Steven Leath said the 2.35 percent increase in out-of-state students’ tuition for the 2013-14 school year is going toward uncompleted projects on campus.

“We took the tuition revenues we got from having more students, as well as increases in nonresident [tuition] and rolled that into a pool to do a number of things,” Leath said.

Some of these projects include the increase of money allocated to refurbish classrooms and to compensate faculty and staff at the university. An additional $1 million a year are added to the renovation and repair funds as well.

Iowa State receives revenue from two primary sources, said John McCarroll, executive director of university relations.

The university funds its day-to-day operations from tuition revenue, which includes money from undergraduate students as well as graduate students. It also includes the appropriations the university receives from the state.

Every year the university brings in a total amount that reaches over $500 million per year through those two primary sources.

Because of this rise in tuition, however, students might see changes in enrollment.

The raise in tuition could change the areas from which the university receives its out-of-state students. Some places where students are coming from are better funded than others, said Laura Doering, registrar in the Records & Registration department.

“The diversity of our student population is critical to the student experience here at Iowa State [and] maintaining the richness it currently has,” Doering said.

David Biedenbach, assistant vice president for financial planning and budgets, said he believes the moderate increase in out-of-state tuition will not affect the enrollment of out-of-state or international students.

“I don’t think that the tuition increasing is going to hinder that [diversity]. I think the reason why students come to Iowa State is for the programs and experience,” Biedenbach said.

Leath said he has focused a lot of attention on keeping the in-state tuition from rising. He said he intends to present the same kind of proposal to the governor and the Iowa Legislature this year as what was presented last year.

His proposal to the state’s government last year said that if the university were to receive more money from the state, residents’ tuition would be frozen for the 2013-14 academic year. 

“I think that our Legislature has worked very well with the Board [of Regents] and different schools, and I think they really understand the economic impacts their schools have on the state of Iowa,” said Hannah Walsh, student representative on the Board of Regents.

The revenue numbers that are coming into the university show that there is a possibility of future tuition freezes, Leath said.

“It all depends on the market,” Biedenbach said about providing the same tuition freeze benefits to out-of-state students. “We want to continue to attract students from outside of the state of Iowa, just because we think that there’s opportunities for those students to come and learn and do great things at Iowa State.”