Tuition, new bio-engineering center up for Board of Regents approval


Miles Lackey speaks at the Board of Regents meeting Oct. 13. 

Danielle Ferguson

Tuition rates for resident undergraduates could be locked at the 2014-15 rate if the Board of Regents votes for a third consecutive tuition freeze at the December meeting Wednesday, Dec. 3.

The board will also look at mandatory student fees, a new center for bioplastics and biocomposites, a million dollar computing cluster purchase and an efficiency review update at the meeting, telephonically originating from the Iowa State University Alumni Center.

The board had originally proposed an increase of 1.75 percent in in-state undergraduate tuition, but concern about rising higher education costs presented by regent Larry McKibben caused other regents to also speak out.

“The [student] debt at sixth in the nation is a social and economic negative for our state,” McKibben said at the Oct. 23 board meeting. “[It is important for] students to graduate without having a tremendous amount of debt, to be able to get married, have a family and maybe make a first down payment on a house and stay in Iowa.”

The board is now recommending the following rates for Iowa State:

  • 2014-15 undergraduate resident tuition: $6,648
  • Proposed 2015-16: $6,648
  • 2014-15 undergraduate nonresident tuition: $19,534
  • Proposed 2015-16: $19,768
  • 2014-15 graduate resident tuition: $7,990
  • Proposed 2015-16: $8,130
  • 2014-15 graduate nonresident tuition: $20,804
  • Proposed 2015-16: $21,054

Mandatory fees:

  • 2014-15: $1,083.40
  • Proposed 2015-16: $1,087.90

The fee increase is an additional $4.50 per student that would go toward CyRide.

Additional topics to look for:

TIER update

Regent Larry McKibben and Mark Braun, Transparent Inclusive Efficiency Review Transformation project manager, will give an update on the efficiency review study.

At the Nov. 14 telephonic meeting, the board unanimously approved the eight administrative business cases that will change the structures of human resources, finance, facilities and information technology, which could result in the loss of more than 200 jobs across the three regent universities.

The universities are researching how to implement some of the cases themselves and will develop methods to present.

With increasing enrollment, however, Iowa State’s methods may vary from methods at the universities of Iowa and Northern Iowa.

The board office released a University of Iowa early retirement initiative to aid with the downsizing in university departments. The item is not up for board approval.

Warren Madden, senior vice president of business and finance, said Iowa State has not developed early retirement phase plans because the increasing enrollment may provide opportunities to transfer people to different positions. But nothing has been decided, he said, because the board is not far enough along in the implementation process.

New center for bioplastics and biocomposites

Iowa State is requesting approval to establish a new center to develop high value biobased products from agricultural feedstocks.

The Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites would be in the Center for Crops Utilization Research and a National Science Foundation Industry and University Cooperative Research Center. The NSF would fund administrative costs and industry funds would support research.

The center, also known as CB2, is a collaborative effort between biocomposite and engineering research teams at Iowa State, University of Massachusetts Lowell and Washington State University, with Iowa State as the lead institution.

The center’s goal is to develop knowledge of agricultural feedstock products, such as plastics, coatings, adhesives and composites, that are compatible with current industrial manufacturing systems to promote sustainability.

David Grewell, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, will serve as director of the center if the board approves.

Equipment purchase

Iowa State University is requesting to purchase a High Performance Computing Cluster for $1,712,902.

Funding will be provided from multiple sources including:

  • $1,265,802 from college/general
  • $339,600 from departmental/foundation
  • $107,500 from research/sponsored 

The universities have to seek approval for purchases more than $1 million.

The money trail: capital improvement transactions

A $3.3 million budget for a project to renovate Larch Hall similar to how Willow Hall was renovated last year is up for approval.

Construction of a new residence hall east of Buchanan is also up for board approval. The $49,500,000 project would create about 700 beds and hall community and support spaces.

Anyone can attend the meeting from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Alumni Center or listen live online at