Regents approve University of Iowa Hawk Shop private partnership

Follet Higher Education Group will begin operating the Hawk Shop on April 22.


Iowa Hawk Shop bags sit on the counter of the store in the Iowa Memorial Union on Tuesday Feb. 28, 2017. The Hawk Shop wants to reusable bags in the store.

Rylee Wilson, News Reporter

The state Board of Regents approved the operating agreement between the University of Iowa and Follett Higher Education Group, which will take over operations of the Iowa Hawk Shop’s online and retail sales. 

Follett will begin operating the bookstore on April 22. The agreement will be in effect for the next five years, and was unanimously approved by the state Board of Regents on Friday. 

“Since the 2008 flood when the bookstore was not able to operate in the Iowa Memorial Union for many years, and with the ever-increasing online competition for books and apparel, the university operated bookstore has financially struggled and has operated at a loss for many years – since 2015,” UI business manager David Kieft told the regents on Friday. 

The company will pay the UI a percentage of all sales from the bookstore, as well as $250,000 annually for each term of the agreement, and a $100,000 annual utility fee. 

The company is also required to pay $50,000 each year to the UI Division of Student Life, and $10,000 annually to support the UI libraries. 

As part of the agreement, Follett is required to hire all current full-time Iowa Hawk Shop employees who choose to continue working with Follett at their current salaries, Kieft said. 

The university first issued a request seeking a public-private partnership to manage the Iowa Hawk Shop in September 2020. 

As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, the Iowa Hawk Shop employs 17 full-time employees and 110 part-time student employees. 

Kieft said 10 other Big Ten universities operate their bookstores through private partnerships. 

Follett operates campus stores for several other Iowa colleges and universities, including Drake University in Des Moines, St. Ambrose University in Davenport, and Coe College in Cedar Rapids.