Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions

Do I need to update my license plate and vehicle information when I get a new car?

Absolutely! Parking enforcement staff have no way of knowing that is your car if you haven't told us, especially if you forgot to display your permit. Any time you get a new vehicle or new license plates you can update the information online using the Vehicle Update form or by contacting the Parking office by email at or by phone at 515-294-3388.

The ParkMobile App isn't working. How can I pay?

If you are having any issues using the ParkMobile App, try deleting the app from your device and reinstalling it. If you are still having issues, you may login and pay at in the web browser through your mobile device. You may also pay over the phone by calling 877-727-5989 (877 PARK 989). Coins and Smart Cards are always accepted at Iowa State University Meters. 

Why did I get a parking ticket?

Parking ticket definitions can give some explanation for your specific ticket. The comments section on the ticket will give you additional information. If you still have questions or believe you should not have received a parking ticket you can appeal it online within 15 days of original issuance date.

Is there any free parking on campus?

Iowa State Center lots offer free parking during the day in designated lots. No overnight parking is allowed. Availability may change due to event parking. Designated campus lots open up for free parking weekdays after 5:30pm until 7am and on weekends after 5:30pm on Friday until Monday at 7am. Read signs carefully as some lots required a permit all hours of everyday.

Can I get my ticket forgiven?

You may appeal your ticket online if you believe there is any reason you should not have received it. You have 15 days from original issuance date to make your claim.

What do I do if the pay machine kiosk or meter appears to be broken or isn't accepting coins?

Check the "Troubleshooting Pay by Stall Machines" section.

How do I pay a parking ticket?

ISU Parking Office does not have an online payment system set up for paying tickets. You can submit payment in the form of check or money order in the provided envelope to the Parking Office or pay at the Parking Office front counter with cash, check or credit card. See Payment on our website for more information.

My car was towed. How do I get it back?

A car will be towed if it is parked in a 24 hour reserve stall, parked illegally or any other reason that would cause traffic issues. If you believe your car may have been towed, please call 515-294-4444 and someone either from Parking or the Police Department will assist you. If you need a ride to retrieve your vehicle, the HelpVan can assist you. You may also call Central Iowa Towing directly at 515-290-4188 and arrange your own ride there. You will need a valid Driver's License to release your vehicle and pay the tow fee. You will also have a parking citation. For more information about ISU towing click here.


Can I get a refund for my parking permit if I choose to work from home?

Employees who purchased a 2020-2021 parking permit do have the option to receive a prorated refund if they choose to work from home. Return your permit to the ISU Parking Office to receive your refund. Employees will still be required to display a permit or pay a meter when parking on campus. Employees may purchase scratch off General Staff permits, valid for one day only, from the ISU Parking Office.

Where can I park with my general staff permit?

General staff permits are only allowed in General Staff lots with the yellow sign. General staff permits are not allowed in any other lots or metered spaces without proper payment.

I forgot my permit, how can I prevent receiving a ticket?

You can fill out the Forgot My Permit online form. This will notify the parking office to put your vehicle on overlook for the day. If you will be without your permit for longer than one day, you will need to stop into the office and get a temporary permit.

My parking lot is full. Where am I allowed to park?

General Staff

General Staff permit holders can park in the next available General Staff lot or pay for a metered space. DO NOT park in a Reserve lot or in a meter without paying. Your permit is not valid there and you will receive a ticket.


Immediately notify the Parking Office. Someone from the office will direct you to the best place to park and send an enforcement officer to the lot.

You CAN park in a General Staff lot all day with your reserve permit.

DO NOT park in any other reserve lot without authorization. Your permit is only valid for the lot number designated on the permit.


If you are having trouble finding an open medical stall near your building see the Medical Stalls and Accessible Entrances Map or Medical Permits for more options to park.


Is there any free student parking?

Permits are required all hours of everyday in all ISU Residence Hall lots. The Iowa State Center offers free parking for commuters during the day, but overnight parking is NOT allowed. There are various meters and pay by stall spaces on campus for students to pay for a place to park.  Many staff and metered areas open up for free parking on the weekends and after 5:30pm daily, but require the proper permit starting at 7am the following morning. Read signs carefully as some stalls and lots are enforced all hours all days.

Why do students have to pay for parking?

The Parking Division is self-funded, which means none of your tuition funds go towards parking. The Parking Division is responsible for snow removal and maintenance on all of the lots where permits are required. Maintenance includes crack filling, seal coating, painting, signage, meters among other projects. The money received from permit sales, meter fees and parking fines are used for all of the above including general office supplies and paying employees.

Is parking free during the summer?

Normal parking rules are enforced all summer long. Students are still required to have a permit in Residence Hall lots and Commuter lots 68, 29 and 119. Check the student permit section for available permits.

How can I get a job at the ISU Parking Division?

Students can apply for employment through our Student Jobs tab on our website. We are always accepting applications.

Can I use a visitor permit if I get a new car or driving a temporary car?

NO. Students are not visitors and are NOT allowed to possess a visitor permit. If a vehicle driven by a student is displaying a visitor permit, it will be fined accordingly and possibly towed. See Rules and Conditions for more detailed information.

Where can I park to use the Maple, Willow, Larch Recreation Fields?

Weekdays before 5:30 p.m. you can pay for a stall in Lot 100 by Lied Recreation Center and walk across the bridge to the fields. On weekends, starting Friday at 5:30 p.m. to Monday 7:00 a.m., Lot 100 and select stalls in the nearby General Staff Lots offer free parking. The Residence Hall Lot 63 requires a Lot 63 permit all hours of everyday. Vehicles parked in Lot 63 without the proper permit will receive a citation all hours of everyday.

Where can I park with my Residence Hall permit? Can I park in another Residence Hall lot to visit a friend?

Each Residence Hall permit is only valid for the lot designated on the permit. For instance, if your permit is for Lot 112 at Frederiksen Court, you are ONLY allowed to park in lots 112A,B,C,D,F,G,H,K around Frederiksen Court. If you want to visit a friend living in Maple, Willow or Larch, you are NOT allowed to park in their Residence Hall Lot 63. This goes for ALL Residence Hall permits.

You may ride the bus, pay to park at a nearby meter or pay by stall lot, or wait until after 5:30 p.m. or weekends when select General Staff parking stalls open up to visitors.

Where can I park to eat at a Dining Center?

You should walk or ride the bus to the dining centers on campus whenever possible as parking is usually limited to a small group of meters, which are usually full during peak times. Some areas, like Conversations, Seasons Marketplace and East Side Market, have 30 minute loading zones for quick pick up. Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. parking is limited to meters and pay by stall spaces. Vehicles parked in any other space, without a proper permit, will be ticketed.


Where can I park when visiting campus?

Check the Where to Park tab for more detailed information. Visitors have many options for parking including meters, pay by stall lots, visitor permits and free parking during specific times in select lots.

I received a ticket while visiting campus. What are my options?

There are many options depending on your situation. Check Visitor Tickets for more details.

Where can I park for tailgating and going to the ISU Football games?

ISU Athletics manages the Football Parking areas around the stadium for donors and general public parking. Parking is available in some campus staff lots on the weekends. Read signs carefully as some stalls and lots are enforced all hours all days. Your vehicle needs to be in a parking stall. Your vehicle may be ticketed and towed if blocking an emergency lane or blocking a lane of traffic.

Where can I park when attending a campus event?

Follow any instructions given to you from the event coordinator. If you did not receive any specific instructions, check our Visitors tab to learn where to park and how to get a visitor permit. Parking Tip: Plan ahead and know what your options are for parking BEFORE arriving to campus. Your vehicle may be ticketed and towed if parked incorrectly without a proper permit.

Can I use a credit card to pay meters or pay by stall lots?

Credit cards are not accepted at Iowa State University meters or pay by stall spaces. Acceptable forms of payment are cash coins, ParkMobile or Smart Card.


Can I park for free while working on a construction project?

All vehicles on ISU Campus require permits to park in campus lots. Each project has a specific parking plan designated by Facilities Planning and Management. Read our Construction Contractor Parking page or contact your representative to learn your options. Contact info can be found here for Capital Projects or projects under $100,000.

Am I required to pay when parking at meters or pay by stall lots?

Yes, you are not exempt from paying meters or pay by stall spaces while working on campus. Some permits will allow you to park for a limited time in meters and pay by stall spaces for free, if you are eligible. See Construction Contractor Parking and Vendor Permits to learn what permits are available for your project or business purposes.