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Inexpensive Activities and Entertainment Options for Students : Taking Advantage of those “Mandatory Fees”

Author: Financial Success | Image: Financial Success

On behalf of our staff members at the Student Loan Education Office, we wish you the best in completing your upcoming midterm exams! While it is important to spend countless hours cramming at the library to be academically successful, we as financial aid advisers would also recommend taking a break from your studies to enjoy some free and fun activities provided right here on campus. Fun Fact: Did you know that as students, you have already paid to use most of these services and activities?

The activity, services and building fee is a mandatory fee that supports a variety of activities and services for all students. This fee provides several benefits such as student admission rates to concerts and athletic events and, unlimited use of CyRide, even the City of Ames bus system. Paying for your own car as a student is expensive, in terms of fuel and maintenance. The Ames bus systems is a great way to enjoy free transportation as a student! In addition, the fee provides support for campus recreation facilities, the Memorial Union, and campus organizations and services as allocated by the Government of the Student Body. All students will be charged a maximum of $320.70 each fall and spring semester, and $161 per summer semester. These fees are itemized in the following chart:

Fee Categories Amount
Student Activities 36.75
Student Services 95.60
Building 27.55
Recreation 160.80
Total 320.70

Now it is time to choose your adventure! Below are a few student-friendly activities offered around campus that are funded by the activity, services, and building fees:

All currently enrolled students at ISU and who are assessed the current activity fee have a Student Pass to all the gyms on campus, including Beyer Hall, State Gym, and Lied Recreation Center. Beyer Hall & State Gym both include indoor pools. These campus gyms also offer free group fitness classes to students, including aerobics, Zumba, Pilates, and much more. See below for the Group Fitness full schedule.


Are you thinking about going to see a movie this week? While spending $8 for a movie ticket may not seem like a lot, those frequent outings to Cinemark Movies 12 in Ames can really add up. Instead, consider going to see a movie at the Memorial Union! The Student Union Board (SUB) offers free movie showings during the week. A calendar on their website of upcoming showings, including popular releases, such as Transformers, Ninja Turtles and Guardians of the Galaxy.


The M-Shop, conveniently located in the Memorial Union, hosts 60 concerts a year. Recent acts have included The Lumineers, Andy Grammer, The Civil Wars, and David Nail, just to name a few. These tickets are available at the box office by walk in, phone, or can be purchased online. To use a student discount ticket, patrons must present a valid ISU student ID.

Below is the link to the “Live at the M-Shop” calendar of shows


Show your Cyclone Spirit! Many ISU sporting events tickets are also available to students at a discounted price. The Cy’s Pass is only $30 and it is your ticket to all wrestling, gymnastics, volleyball, and women’s basketball games. There are Football and Basketball season ticket packages available for purchase well before opening season, but cost anywhere from $125-$249. Here is the link for purchasing student ticket passes.


The Parks Library on campus is a great recreational resource that often appears hidden to students. Believe it or not, the library is not just place to study, but actually contains a vast collection of non-academic material. Including music, DVDs, and leisure reading material that students can check out for free with their student ID. These materials can be found in the basement, as well as the dining room outside Bookends Café.

There are many other student-oriented resources available to you around campus and we hope that you take advantage of them.

Good luck, Cyclones!