Iowa Board of Regents

FY 2021 Budget Primer

At its July 29 meeting, the Board of Regents will consider approval of Fiscal Year 2021 budgets. Regent university, special school, Iowa Public Radio and Board office budgets are included in the budget presentation. Because of the volatility of fall sports schedules resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, university athletics department budgets will be presented at the September Board of Regents meeting.

The COVID-19 pandemic, a tuition freeze and an $8 million cut from the 2020 Iowa General Assembly have resulted in smaller projected budgets for 2021 than in 2020. In total, fiscal year 2021 general university operating budgets - money used for the day-to-day business of the universities - are more than $65 million less than they were in 2020. 

Table comparing University tuition fees for residents and non-residents.
Much of this shortfall is due to flat tuition rates, smaller enrollment numbers and cuts in state funding. Hiring and salary freezes have been recommended by many collegiate and administrative units and budget reductions have been implemented. Further, outfitting campuses with personal protective equipment, preparing classrooms for new capacity and physical distancing requirements and transitioning many classes to online formats requires significant investment.

Consistent with the service nature of Iowa’s public universities, three out of every four dollars in the general university budgets are used for instruction, academic support, scholarships and fellowships. 

Chart showing the 2021 budget for general university spending by function.
This focus on student success provides a roadmap for Iowa’s public universities during these difficult budgeting times. Though budgets will be trimmed, the Regents universities' dedication to quality, affordable higher education remains unwavering. 

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