Iowa Board of Regents moves to increase tuition


ISU students will see an increase of 3.5% for Iowa resident students and 4% for nonresident students.

Iowa Board of Regents approved renaming a veterinary complex building, renovating Kildee Hall air conditioning and, most notably, tuition increases for resident and nonresident students.

On Sep. 15, 2022, the Board of Regents for the state of Iowa approved an appropriations request from Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa to increase state funding for all three universities. The proposal asked for an increase of $12 million, about 5.4%, for ISU’s general education budget. Instead, state legislators granted Iowa State an increase of $2.8 million, about 1.2%, to be used for supporting new degrees and certificates in technological fields and chose to keep the general education budget the same.

After another year of stagnated state funding, the Board of Regents met today to approve various motions, including raising tuition for all three of Iowa’s public universities. ISU students will see an increase of 3.5% for Iowa resident students and 4% for nonresident students.

At the meeting, student body representatives from the three universities spoke to the regents about the negative effects of raising tuition.

Iowa State University Student Government Vice President Jennifer Holliday, senior in agricultural studies, and GPSS President Christine Cain, a graduate student of education, joined the University of Iowa Undergraduate Student Government Vice President Carly O’Brien and Graduate Student Government Director of Communications Mason Koelm as well as the University Northern Iowa Student Government Vice President Micaiah Krutsinger.

Holliday spoke on the importance of the three Iowa universities to maintain the quality of higher education that students came to Iowa for and said that the responsibility to pay for this should not rest on the shoulders of students.

“Our system has a complex fiscal issue that needs to be addressed to ensure that students at Iowa’s public universities receive the valuable education and opportunities that attracted them there initially,” Holliday said. “However, we need to find solutions to this issue without increasing the financial burden attending a higher education institution already bears on our students.”

Holliday went on to say that although every dollar Iowa State spends is an investment in improving students’ education and opportunities, it is also a burden.

“As much as these tuition and fee increases benefit our students’ successes, it also inhibits them,” Holliday said. “When students must make the choice between eating or purchasing textbooks or deciding between going to work or attending class to be able to afford school, we have an issue.”

Holliday continued, highlighting the lack of support Iowa public universities have received from Iowa legislators and how difficult it is to receive more.

“Tuition has continuously increased at our university since the turn of the century, yet funding support from the state has stagnated. The acquisition of additional funds from the state is laborious, even with the support of the board, yet it shouldn’t be,” Holliday said.

UNI Student Government Vice President Micaiah Krutsinger echoed Holliday, citing statistics saying that Iowa public universities depend more on tuition than state funding.

“If the core inflation is expected to be around 4% in 2023 and 3% in 2024, why is the state’s 2024 appropriations for general funding staying flat while tuition is proposed to increase 3.5%?” Krutsinger said. “In fiscal year 2001, 63.7% of the three universities’ funding came from the state and 30.6% from tuition. Now for fiscal year 2023’s budget, it is nearly flipped with 30.5% from the state and 60.8% from tuition.”

Krutsinger also said that not only do the universities rely more on students, but they also have decreasing support from the state.

“In fact, our three universities combined currently have $57.5 million less in general funding from the state as compared to 2001. That’s approximately -10.4%, and I can tell you that from that time, the economy has not seen a deflation of 10.4%,” Krutsinger said.

A chart from an Iowa Board of Regents Fiscal Topics report published November 2016

Krutsinger pointed out that as public institutions of higher education, the three universities should be able to serve the community in an accessible manner.

“Why must the burden of inflation fall strictly on the students and their families who want to attend college?” Krutsinger asked. “Shouldn’t the point of public education be that it’s affordable and benefit the public, the entire state?”

Cain spoke to the lasting burden that these tuition and fee increases would have on students. Cain said that college students could accumulate more than $37,000 in student debt by the end of their undergraduate degree. If a student chooses to pursue a professional or doctorate level degree, their debt could exceed $100,000 to potentially $200,000 for programs like veterinary medicine.

Cain acknowledged that universities need higher funding to incentivize a diversity of majors in the student body and retain faculty but questioned the decision to appropriate this funding from students’ tuitions.

“It feels ironic to use student dollars to address items like recruitment and retention of faculty and staff when legislators in this state have themselves created these deficits through a tax on tenure, critical race research and DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) efforts,” Cain said.

After hearing the student government representatives from the three universities, the Board of Regents unanimously approved tuition and fee increases for the 2023-24 academic year. The increase in tuition and fees would result in Iowa resident students’ tuition going from $8,678 to $8,982 and nonresident students’ tuition going from $25,162 to $26,168

Additional Measures

The Board of Regents agreed to rename the academic building of the veterinary complex to the Frederick Douglass Patterson Hall in honor of Dr. Frederick Douglass Patterson. According to a document presented to the Board of Regents, Patterson was the fourth of ISU’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1923. Other professional accomplishments include:

  • President of Tuskegee University at age 34 and founder of its veterinary medicine and engineering colleges
  • Founder of the Tuskegee Aeronautical Sciences program, which developed the 332nd Fighter Group in World War II, better known as the Tuskegee Airmen
  • Co-founder of the United Negro College Fund, which has raised over $5 billion in scholarships for Black students
  • Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian honor, awarded in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan. Dr. Patterson is the only veterinarian and one of only three Iowa State alumni to receive this award

The named portion would exclude the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory facility, the Veterinary Field Services building and the Veterinary Medicine Research Institute and associated outbuildings.

The Board of Regents approved Iowa State combining what was originally two renovation projects at the Memorial Union into one project, accelerating its schedule and allowing for it to be completed by the fall semester.

The regents also approved a motion to terminate the Bachelor of Science in Biophysics program. Documents presented to the Board of Regents state that due to the program’s learning objectives drifting towards biochemistry, the university believes that it would be more beneficial for students to offer specialized pathways within biochemistry for biophysics.

The Board of Regents approved extending the Veterinary Clinical Service Incentive Plan from the original one-year to a three-year model.

Regents approved an increase in the budget for renovations at Kildee Hall from $1.55 million to $2.3 million. These renovations would replace dated air conditioning units serving laboratories and laboratory support spaces.