An important change in the differential tuition policy is making financial planning simpler for all engineering students at Iowa State University and even resulting in a one-time scholarship for some of them.
Beginning in the fall 2010 semester, engineering students entering the university directly from high school will receive a four-semester exemption from differential tuition; the exemption for transfer students is two semesters.
Previously, differential tuition was charged to “junior and senior” students who had exceeded 60 credits. Many first-year students, however, entered Iowa State with multiple Advanced Placement (AP) credits and reached the 60-credit threshold before their third, or junior, year. Transfer students encountered a similar situation.
As part of the policy change, the college is offering one-time scholarships to those students who paid differential tuition in spring 2010 but would not under the new policy. Those scholarships are being offered to returning students.
“This is the right and fair thing to do,” said Jonathan Wickert, dean of the college. “We want the college’s policy on differential tuition to be clear to students and their families. The new exemption reflects our commitment to serving students and our sensitivity to the financial burdens they face.”
The college began charging differential tuition in summer 2006 after receiving approval from the state Board of Regents. The tuition is used to improve the overall student experience by lowering the student-to-faculty ratio, modernizing facilities, and developing design- and laboratory-intensive courses. Also, by Board of Regents mandate, 15 percent of the tuition revenue goes directly toward financial aid for engineering students.
Differential tuition is also charged by Iowa State’s College of Business , the engineering college at the University of Iowa, and elsewhere.
In the spring, the college also announced that it would eliminate all course fees of $25 or less. That policy became effective in summer 2010, removing fees in 22 courses.