Technology Fee Spending and Cash Flow Guidelines

Technology fees, charged to all students, provide a distinct resource to maintain and enhance information technology infrastructure and services for students. The fees enable the university to create and advance a vibrant technology ecosystem for students that provides valuable dynamic interactions for students with faculty, staff, other students, software, data, systems, digital platforms, and services allowing for continued harmonious growth and transformation. 

Technology fees revenue is distributed to Information Technology Services, students’ academic colleges, and the University Library to create, maintain, and improve students’ experiences with instructional technology resources including face-to-face, online, and hybrid learning; high-speed internet access; library and other information resources; other student technology needs; student activities; and student support and communication systems.   

The university is committed to transparent communication and engagement with students. Iowa State’s Information Technology Services leadership, academic deans, department chairs, and other university leadership will regularly engage with Student Government leaders, college student leadership councils, college leadership committees, and faculty caucuses regarding collegiate instructional technology.  These collaborations assist the university in identifying strategic directions to best utilize technology fee revenue to maintain the quality of the Iowa State’s technology ecosystem. Periodic inflationary increases to the technology fee may be proposed in accordance with the university’s standard process.

Justification and Examples

Allowable and appropriate expenses using these funds must bring tangible benefit to the learning and experiences of students including salaries and direct instructional costs, administration, student services, library, software licensing, operations, and equipment.

Examples of costs that are permitted include:

  • Technology within classrooms, studios, and student/faculty collaboration spaces.
  • Enhanced wireless capability across campus.
  • Security, privacy, and accessibility.
  • Software purchases and subscriptions.
  • Online learning components (for on-campus students, distance education students, or students taking courses virtually) such as production costs, instructional design, content delivery, technology support, student support, training of undergraduate and graduate students to enhance student learning experiences, display and writing surface capabilities.
  • Technology, ranging from lecture capture capabilities to active, team-based learning environments. 
  • Technological infrastructure, including furniture and equipment to create and advance a vibrant technology ecosystem supporting teaching and learning needs.
  • Technology advancements supporting innovative instructional methods.  
  • Staff and student time and associated benefits directly involved in  support of educational technology and content.

Examples of costs that are not permitted include:

  • Salary and wages for university instructors (faculty or staff).
  • Stipends of graduate instructors or research assistants that are not directly related to teaching or training on technology that is permitted within the technology fee spending policy.
  • Physical space renovations and general furniture replacements that are not directly related to the use of or housing of technology permitted within the technology fee spending policy.

Cash flow planning

Units receiving technology fee revenue are to plan for, utilize, and expend technology fees to benefit the learning and student experiences, following allowable and appropriate guidelines in a strategic way, on a recurring annual basis as part of regular budget development. The regular review of annual revenues as compared to expenses provides senior budget leaders timely information so they can adjust revenue distribution methodology or spending plans.  

The ability to carry forward technology fee money from one year to the next is critical to the success of the university budget model. Multi-year investments in technology, financial impacts from enrollment changes, and other external factors require flexibility. Individual colleges and budget units may carry forward up to 25% of the annual revenues received. Amounts exceeding 25% will be reallocated to the President (for information technology services) or the Senior Vice President and Provost (for the academic colleges and the University Library) and spent for purposes the fee was originally implemented.  

In alignment with all other university units receiving mandatory student fees, financial spending and accomplishments are presented to the Special Student Fee Committee annually to inform the students’ recommendations regarding the technology fee to the Board of Regents.