Some regents balk at raising housing and dining rates

UI+junior+Olivia+Loechner+and+freshman+Sydney+McMurray+sit+in+a+UI+dorm+lounge+they+share+with+three+other+women+on+Monday%2C+Aug.+24%2C+2015.+An+overflow+of+students+stay+in+residence-hall+lounges+converted+into+housing+spaces+until+permanent+accommodations+can+be+made.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FCarly+Matthew%29

UI junior Olivia Loechner and freshman Sydney McMurray sit in a UI dorm lounge they share with three other women on Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. An overflow of students stay in residence-hall lounges converted into housing spaces until permanent accommodations can be made. (The Daily Iowan/Carly Matthew)

Tom Ackerman, [email protected]

 

Whether there will be an increase in housing and dining rates for the three state Board of Regents universities is still in flux, but some regents expressed concerns about approving them.

Rates at Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, and the University of Iowa are all up for consideration. Each university’s most popular residence room and board options would increase 3.5 percent, 3.5 percent, and 2.9 percent, respectively.

The proposal for higher rates will be settled in April’s meeting; Regent President Bruce Rastetter said he would support the increases but would not do so again until more information is provided by the TIER study.

“It doesn’t seem like there’s enough inertia there,” he said. “It’s easy to raise costs and vote for increases unless you’re the parent and student paying for it.”

“I have issues and challenges with that.”

According to the regents’ website, TIER is an independent review of the academic and administrative expenses in the three regent universities in order to transform them to become sustainable.

For the UI, an increase would raise rates for a double room with air to $6,527 from $6,345. A Gold meal plan, which currently costs $3,480, would be $3,580.

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Regent Larry McKibben said he does not support increases because of the high tuition and rooming expenses as is.

“My concern and the reason I brought it up was, again, the parents and students who say, ‘We support your efforts to reduce the debts of students, and we are concerned that it’s not just tuition, it’s all the things that go with it,’ ” he said.

The issue of finances in Housing & Dining also brought about the topic of minimum wage in Johnson County. UI Assistant Vice President for Student Life Von Stange, the senior director of Housing & Dining, wants to see a higher minimum wage for students.

Rod Lehnertz, the UI interim senior vice president for Finance and Operations, said the issue is ongoing because Johnson County is the only place in Iowa seeking to raise the minimum wage.

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