Iowa regents to discuss residence hall rates, transparency task force

Residence hall costs may rise from 2 percent to almost 6 percent

Some students at Iowa's public universities won't pay more in residence hall costs next year, while others will see increases ranging from 2 percent to almost 6 percent, according to a proposal that will go next week to state regents.

Department of Residence officials at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa will present the proposed 2013-14 residence hall and meal plan rates to the state Board of Regents next week, with final approved by the board scheduled for the April meeting.

The residence systems at the three universities are self-supporting and do not receive state funds for operations or building improvements.

The average rate increase for all housing types will be 4.69 percent at the UI; the rates vary depending on what type of housing and meal plan a student chooses. About 2.5 percent of the rate increase is due to financing a new UI residence hall, set to open in 2015, officials said.

At ISU, room and board rates will remain flat next year compared to this year, except for a $2 increase to daily apartment guest room rates. UNI officials propose rate increases ranging from 2 percent to 2.9 percent.

Other business at next week's meeting includes:

* Board approval of membership on the new transparency task force. Regent Nicole Carroll will lead that nine-member group, which also will include Iowa legislators Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Cedar Falls, and Rep. Peter Cownie, R-West Des Moines; Kathleen Richardson from the Governorís Iowa Public Information Board; representatives from the UI, ISU and UNI; and a member of the public to be selected at the meeting.

* Board approval of a UI agreement with Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions to provide apartment housing for students and of plans to demolish portions of Hawkeye Court apartment complex. Hawkeye Court includes 427 one and two-bedroom apartments, dating to 1968.† UI officials request board approval to approve a 41-year ground lease with Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions, of Dallas, to construct and operate 444 beds within 270 apartment units to replace a portion of Hawkeye Court. The company will make an annual $1 payment for the ground lease.

* Board ratification of several collective bargaining agreements with various employees groups, including United Faculty at UNI, Local 896 Campaign to Organize Graduate Students (COGS) for the graduate teaching and research assistants at the UI and Service Employees International Union Local 199 (SEIU) for the tertiary health care employees at UI Hospitals and Clinics.

The two-year contract agreement with United Faculty begins July 1 and provides a 2 percent increase in 2013 and a 2.25 percent increase in 2014. The agreement with COGS at the UI provides for a 2 percent increase in the average graduate assistant stipend on July 1, 2013 and a 2.25 percent increase on July 1, 2014. The SEIU contract is in arbitration.

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