FY 2021 Appropriations Requests - A Rundown

At its September meeting, the Board of Regents will consider approval of FY 2021 state appropriations requests totaling $642.37 million. What follows is a summary of how the Board makes appropriation requests and how it uses appropriated resources to maximize benefits to Iowans.

Request Basics
Each year, the Board presents its appropriations request to the Iowa State Legislature. Iowa Code requires the Regents to submit the request prior to October 1. The bulk of the Board’s legislative request is the higher education general university appropriations request, which serves as the universities’ main source of state funding. Further money is appropriated for special purpose units, the Iowa School for the Deaf and Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISD and IESVBI), economic development, agriculture and natural resources and other appropriations.

Higher Education General University Appropriation - $511.05 Million
The Board’s FY 2021 request for the higher education general university appropriation includes a continuation of the $493.05 million appropriated last year, plus $18 million in incremental funding. The general fund provides resources essential for quality public higher education, cutting-edge research and public services. The Board’s incremental funding request includes an additional $7 million for the UI, $7 million for ISU and $4 million for UNI. The Board’s $18 million incremental request will support efforts to shorten time to graduation, provide student financial aid, and support efforts to close retention and graduation achievement gaps for underrepresented and first generation students, and other student success initiatives.

Special Purpose Units - $67.27 Million
These appropriations support programs at each institution that provide valuable services to Iowans statewide. The University of Iowa Oakdale Campus, hygienic laboratory and flood center fall under this category, as do the ISU Agriculture Experiment Station and COOP Extension Service, and the UNI recycling and reuse program. The Board’s appropriations request for its special purpose units is flat from 2020 at $67,270,485. No increase has been requested for these appropriated units.

Special Schools - $15.22 Million
The funding request for ISD and IESBVI allows the Board of Regents to continue to provide high quality, individualized instructional opportunities to children and youth who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and to those who are blind or visually impaired.  ISD and IESBVI rely heavily on state funding for their operations.  The Special Schools’ request includes the continuation of the FY 2020 recurring appropriations totaling $14.63 million for operations, and incremental funding of $412,000 for ISD and $173,000 for IESBVI.  

Economic Development - $13.1 Million
Appropriations for economic development support the formation and growth of entrepreneurship educational activities, assistance to Iowa companies and other ventures. Funding for the University of Iowa Research Park (UIRP), ISU’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) and the UNI Metal Casting Center come from this appropriation. The Board has requested a $2.9 million incremental increase for FY 2021 to further enhance the Bioscience ecosystem platforms initiated a year ago.

Agriculture and Natural Resources - $5.23 Million
The bulk of this appropriation centers on the Iowa State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL). The state legislature currently provides $4.4 million in funding to the VDL. In addition, the legislature provides the UI with $800,000 for the geographical and water survey, water resource management and to support the Iowa Center for Agricultural Safety and Health. The Board’s FY 2021 request for agriculture and natural resources is flat from FY 2020.

Other - $29.07 million
The vast majority of the Board’s request in this category falls under tuition replacement. When the Board issues Academic Building Revenue bonds to fund capital projects on its campuses, tuition revenue is pledged to pay the principal and interest on the bonds. The tuition replacement appropriation replaces that revenue and represents an ongoing state commitment to meet the debt service cost of the Academic Building Revenue bonds. The Board has requested $28.27 million in tuition replacement for FY 2021. This request typically is funded from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund.

Total - $642.37 million
The Board’s total request for all of its appropriations represents an incremental increase of just over $22 million. To maximize benefits to Iowans and other citizens, the Board of Regents advocates for adequate support for Regent institutions from all sources for high-quality educational opportunities accessible to Iowans, research and scholarship, service activities, and economic development efforts.