Regents get first look at parking permit, residence hall proposals

All employee parking permits would go up $10 next year (motorcycle parking permits would go up $3), in increases proposed to the state Board of Regents Wednesday in Iowa City. The board is expected to approve parking increases at its April 26 meeting in Cedar Falls.

Hourly rates at parking meters (50 cents) and in metered lots (75 cents) would remain the same.

Parking division manager Mark Miller said the proposed across-the-board increase is the recommendation of Iowa State's Transportation Advisory Council. Council members were concerned about the widening gap between the cost of reserved and general staff permits, currently not quite a 4:1 ratio. Miller said council members prefer a 3:1 ratio. Among Big 12 Conference peers, Iowa State's general staff permit has the second lowest cost; the ISU reserved permit is fourth highest.

An annual permit for the Memorial Union parking ramp would go up $12 as proposed, with the semester and winter season permits each going up $6. Proposed changes in hourly rates at the ramp include a 25-cent increase for the first hour (from $1.50 to $1.75) and a 50-cent increase in the daily maximum, from $9 to $9.50. The lost ticket fee would go up a proposed $2.50, to $30, if approved. The Memorial Union manages the ramp, the parking division in the department of public safety manages all other lots and structures.

Parking permits: Proposed increases




% increase
General staff $132 $142 7.6
Departmental $132 $142 7.6
Reserved $471 $481 2.1
24-hour reserved $846 $856 1.2
Vendor $171 $181 5.8
Motorcycle $44 $47 6.8
MU ramp      
   Annual $474 $486 2.5
   Fall, spring semester $202 $208 3.0
   Winter (Nov.-Feb.) $202 $208 3.0
   Summer $162 $167 3.1


Residence hall and dining rates for 2012-13

The cost to live in an Iowa State residence hall next year would go up an average of 2.5 percent, under increases proposed to the board Wednesday. Apartment rates at Frederiksen Court and Schilletter/University Village would go up about 1.5 percent as proposed.

Students have 16 room rates to select from, depending on building, air conditioning availability and number of roommates. Proposed prices vary from a triple with no air conditioning ($3,888 per person for the academic year) to a lofted double in Eaton or Martin Hall ($7,540).

All meal plans offered by ISU Dining would remain flat next year, as proposed. In student surveys, focus groups and via hall and student governments this year, students requested no increase in meal plan prices. ISU Dining leaders shared their projected expenses with students, who then provided input on service changes that would keep the fees at this year's rates. Meal options include semester plans that combine meals with ISU Dining Dollars, meal blocks (good in dining centers anytime during an academic year) and Dining Dollars (which expire annually in early May).

As proposed, the "door rate" in the campus dining centers also would remain the same next year: $8.50 for breakfast and $10.50 for lunch and dinner.

A room-meal plan the board traditionally has used for annual comparison is a double room with 14 meals/week and 200 Dining Dollars/semester. At Iowa State, that combination would go up a proposed $101 next year, from $7,621 to $7,722.

When resident undergraduate tuition and fees for 2012-13 (as approved by the board in December) are added in, the package totals $15,448, an increase of $341 (2.26 percent) over this year's cost for tuition, fees, room and meal plan.

The board is scheduled to approve room and meal plan rates at its April meeting.

Dance Marathon 2012 success

Dance Marathon student leaders from the three universities reported they raised more than $1.8 million at dance events on their respective campuses in January and February. Funds raised support pediatric cancer patients and their families at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. School totals were: $380,742 at ISU (15th year, 915 dancers); $1.37 million at U of Iowa (18th year, 1,500 dancers); $56,473 at U of Northern Iowa (first year, 611 dancers).

In other business, the regents approved:

  • Iowa State's request to terminate the bachelor of science program in insect science (College of Agricultural and Life Sciences) due to sustained low enrollment. The program was placed on a 2004 list of programs with 50 or fewer undergraduate majors and subsequent attempts by the entomology department to boost enrollment in the program didn't succeed. The change takes effect immediately; no students will be admitted to the program. All undergraduates in the program as of fall 2012 will be allowed to complete it.
  • A budget ($3.23 million) to renovate the MacKay Hall auditorium. College (about two-thirds) and university (about one-third) funds will cover the cost. Next up in the process is a schematic design of the proposed changes.
  • Iowa State's request to name the yet-to-be-constructed Agriculture Student Learning Center for Jeff and Deb Hansen of West Des Moines, who gave a lead gift of $2 million to the project. Formerly referred to as the agriculture pavilion, the proposed $7 million facility would feature a heated 1,000-seat arena, set of classrooms and a conference room for use by the university community. It will be located on the south side of Mortensen Road, north of the Ames/ISU ice arena. With the Hansens' gift, more than $6 million has been raised for the project.

State grants, institutional grants and how states use them

Sandy Baum, an economist and senior policy analyst at the not-for-profit College Board, made a presentation on Iowa and other states' higher education grant programs, tuition set-aside as an institutional grant program and need-based vs. merit-based aid. She encouraged universities to have access to both state and institutional grants. With institutional grants, the schools have the discretion to decide who receives the aid. Tuition set-aside sometimes creates (inaccurately, she said) the perception that one student might be subsidizing another. State grants avoid this perception. The difficulty in Iowa, she said, is that just 6 percent of the funds in the state's three largest grant programs go to students attending public universities.

Noting that from 26 to 35 percent of tuition set-aside dollars at each of the three regent universities go to undergraduates without financial need, Baum said that states and schools really can't afford to award merit-based grants in these lean years. Ideally, grants are awarded based on need, with requirements for academic performance included, she said.

Board president Craig Lang asked that the topic return to the board's agenda in early summer.