The College of Business at Iowa State University charges differential tuition, which is a rate of tuition above that which the university charges. Sometimes referred to as ‘supplemental’ tuition, the college uses this revenue to reduce class sizes in core business courses and support skills development programs for its students.
Students will pay differential tuition only if they are in the professional business program with 60 or more credits. Typically this is the last two years of students’ four years at Iowa State, when much of their coursework is concentrated in their business major. Students will not pay differential tuition if: 1) they are in the professional program with fewer than 60 credits, even if they take upper-level courses, or 2) they are pre-business students with more than 60 credits, as pre-business students are not in the professional program.
Funding from differential tuition has allowed the College of Business to lower the overall average undergraduate class size by 18 percent compared to four years ago, through the hiring of additional faculty. Fourteen new faculty have been hired since differential tuition was implemented.Not only are class sizes reduced with additional faculty, but the college has been able to reduce the credit hours taught per full-time equivalent faculty member. This gives faculty more time to interact with students inside and outside of the classroom, which aids their ability to help students master the subject matter. Class sizes and access to faculty are key factors in student satisfaction ratings.The College of Business Communications Center also benefits from differential tuition funding. Communication skills are critical for business graduates entering the marketplace. Our Communications Center works with students to improve their abilities and with our faculty to integrate communications assignments into their courses. Demand for the Communications Center increases each year; it now handles over 4,700 scheduled appointments annually with one full-time director and four graduate assistants.
The Gerdin Citizenship Program is another program that receives a small portion of differential tuition funding. This program, which has been enthusiastically endorsed by the companies hiring our graduates, aims to increase the involvement of freshmen and sophomores in the college and aid in their development of skills such as professionalism, leadership, public discourse, and more.
For the 2016-2017 academic year, tuition for in-state business students will be $877 per semester higher than the university base tuition. In future years, this amount will be adjusted by the same annual percentage increase as the university’s base tuition. For part-time students (11 or fewer credits), differential tuition will be pro-rated during both regular semesters and summer sessions.
Yes. Iowa State’s College of Engineering charges its juniors and seniors differential tuition, as do certain majors in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Design. The University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa implemented differential tuition for their business majors around the same time as the College of Business at Iowa State. Many of our peer business schools have also implemented differential tuition.
The Board of Regents, State of Iowa approved our differential tuition proposal in December 2008. Prior to presenting the proposal to the Board of Regents, the College of Business sought feedback from students over a period of months. Although students were, as expected, wary of tuition or fee increases, they acknowledged the unique funding challenges the College of Business faces and were receptive to the proposed uses of the additional funds. The student Business Council voted 33-2 to support the proposal.
Note that these figures represent a typical student; many variables could affect each individual student’s outcome.Differential tuition raises the total cost of a business degree from Iowa State – including four years of tuition, on-campus room and board, fees, and books – by roughly five percent. Students who pursue two business majors or require more than four semesters to complete their business major may incur added differential tuition.Using 2016-2017 tuition rates and assuming a five percent tuition increase in 2017-2018, differential tuition means that most business majors will incur an additional $3,583 in tuition during their final two years at Iowa State: $847 per semester ($1,748) in 2016-2017 and $918 per semester ($1,836) in 2017-2018.