UI charges students a high price for laundry


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Freshman Kim Helling washes her clothes, on average, about once a week.

She looks forward to the weekends she goes home; she can do her laundry for free.

“When I do laundry, I’ll usually have to do two loads, so it’s $5,” she said.

Residents in UI dorms and university apartments pay $1.50 for washers and $1 for drying.

Big Ten universities charge an average of $1.90 for both washing and drying. Some of these schools, however, include the prices of laundry in residence room and board rates.

Of the Big Ten schools that require students to pay additionally for services, the average price is $2.43.

That still leaves Iowa over the average price at $2.50 total for both washer and dryer use.

The UI does not include laundry prices in room and board.

When establishing prices, UI officials considered past years’ prices for laundry. In addition, they weigh costs for repairs and new machines.

Assistant Vice President for Student Life Von Stange, the senior director of University Housing and Dining, said the university raised the wash prices by 50 cents in the past two years.

“We operate on a five-year replacement cycle for the prices,” he said. “We don’t normally raise them, though.”

Included in the housing contract at Iowa, students receive 100 Hawkdollars on their accounts that can go toward laundry, vending machines, and some campus food locations.

If students go over, they can only charge their Hawkdollars to laundry services, which later gets added to their U-Bill.

“Different schools have different perspectives,” Stange said. “Schools run on different operations.”

When students go over their Hawkdollars, the money goes back to the university’s Housing and Dining Department.

“It goes into one big pot,” Stange said. “It’s the same area money goes to for room and board.”

Freshman Annie Kurtz thinks the machines offered to students don’t suffice her needs.

“I feel like $1.50 is expensive because the washers are small,” she said. “Plus they don’t give us the detergent to do it.”

Compared with other schools in Iowa, the UI is right in the middle for laundry prices.

University of Northern Iowa charges $3 for washing and drying combined, while Iowa State University charges $2.ZThe services offered at ISU are similar to the ones used here.

“The system is cashless, meaning that students use their Cy Cash to pay for their laundry,” said Brittney Rutherford, Iowa State University housing and dining marketing coordinator. “Cy Cash is linked to their ISU card and has many other uses across campus.”

Even though the system is more modern, some students would prefer to use coins.

“I think we should be able to use coins too,” Helling said. “I have a lot of quarters that I could use, but now I can’t.”

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