Texas State should lower student parking permits to a more affordable price and make student parking more accessible and convenient.
The transportation and parking advisory committee gathered March 30 to discuss the parking services budget for fall 2012 and spring and summer 2013, according to an April 12 University Star article. All parking permits are valid from fall through summer. To avoid fines, the permits must be renewed by the following fall. Full-time faculty and staff making an annual salary of $25,000 or less and using a restricted parking permit can receive discounts ranging from 50 to 70 percent.
According to the same article, Joanne Smith, vice president for student affairs, said parking services is auxiliary and self-supporting. Funding for the operation comes solely from the cost of permits and parking violation tickets. Smith said the revenue collected from parking permits and tickets helps pay off many costs, such as the 20- to 30-year debt on garages and lots and the construction of new parking areas.
In 2011, the price of a perimeter parking permit was $95 for the whole year. As of this year, the price has increased to $105. Residence hall permits have similarly increased by $35 to a total of $245, while the restricted faculty permits have gone up $40 to now cost $265. For many Texas State students and employees, the permit price increases are upsetting.
Off-campus students are encouraged to use the Texas State Bobcat Tram, which is an excellent way to save money without having to buy a parking permit. Other solutions might include riding a bike to school or even walking, if possible. The current price of parking permits is simply not affordable for on-campus students with cars. This is also true for students who do not live in town and must commute to school. Generally speaking, many students do not have a lot of extra money to spend on parking permits. After paying for tuition, books and room and board, there is not a lot of spending money left in students’ pocket books.
As it is now, the student lots are farther away from campus to make room for closer faculty parking. According to the Office of University Marketing webpage, the student-to-faculty ratio at Texas State is 20-1. Texas State should make parking more convenient and available for students because there are so many more students than faculty and staff members. Constructing more student parking garages or adding more parking lots would solve a lot of the issues that students are facing. The university could especially use more funding to improve student parking in the future.
Following the law of supply and demand, if Texas State wants to reduce the prices of parking permits for students, more student parking options need to be available on campus.
Molly Block is a mass communication junior.