Parking permit cost increases

It’s universal.

After all, students have to have something to complain about.

Parking and the cafeteria.

No matter how big or small the college campus, students always complain about the cost of parking and the quality of food in the cafeteria. 

But this past fall, students had a reason to complain as parking permit costs went from $50 to $70.

Vice President for Administration and Finance Marilyn Fowlé said the Board of Regents approved a $400,000 plan to build a new parking lot, which is lot 22 located by Sundance Court, and the recreational fields during a meeting last year. Regents decided to add the extra $20 from students to bring in approximately $80,000 a year, which will eventually pay for the construction.

Students complained to the police department about the price, though the police are not responsible for the recent increase. The previous price of $50 per parking permit was decided based on the university police’s budget.

Sgt. Kelly Maloney said the $50 of each student’s permit goes to the police department’s budget for officers, salary, equipment and bills.

The university police are budgeted for 10 officers but are in the process of hiring two more.

“Last year it went up to $70 because they are trying to pay for a new parking lot,” Sgt. Albert Jimenes said. “That $20 is money we don’t even see. We just get the blame for it.” 

According to an anecdotal Twitter poll, 58 percent of the 209 voters said the $70 parking was not reasonable, while the other 42 percent said the price was fair, especially compared to the cost of permits at other Texas universities.

Cassidy Jarrett, nursing senior, said the parking is ridiculous because there’s not enough spaces.

“We’re basically paying $70 for a spot that isn’t even guaranteed,” she said. “If they are going to increase the cost, they need to create more parking lots.”

However, Cole Collins, criminal justice freshman, said though he doesn’t like paying $70, he has friends who attend other universities and pay twice as much. He said the price could be much worse. 

When students choose not to buy a decal for the year, they lose privileges the police offer to those who do purchase them. The campus policemen have tools that can be beneficial to students.

“If they have a decal, we provide the door unlock, battery jump box and things like that. Those are services that come with it,” Jimenes said.

The students without parking permits have to park across the street at the church or risk receiving a $20 ticket by parking illegally.

Maloney said the most common ticket the police officers write is for no registration “because people procrastinate and don’t get their stickers.”

Collins said he didn’t buy the decal and had to pay the price during last semester.

“I had no money and couldn’t pay $70 for the permit at the time. I was running late for class and accidentally parked in a reserved space, so I had to pay over $100 for the ticket and parking permit. I’ll never do that again,” Collins said.

If students choose not to pay their fines, the administrators will put a hold on their grades and a hold on next semester’s registration.

Maloney said getting three to four tickets would pay for the permit. 

“Why not just buy the ticket and park right? We have students that go here for four years or longer and never get a ticket. Then there are some students that get a ticket a week,” Maloney said.

Micah Cooke, mathematics junior, said she purchased a parking permit for the first time last week. During previous semesters, Cooke said she didn’t buy a permit because she was never able to find a parking place on campus and would park across the street. 

After seeing all the open parking spaces before her 8 a.m. class, Cooke said she decided parking close was worth the $70. 

Because students often overlook the benefits for the decal, Maloney said the price is well worth it for students, especially considering other the prices at other universities. 

“Really Midwestern is fairly inexpensive,” Maloney said. “Students can park fairly close to a building. At bigger colleges, they would have to walk a quarter mile at least.”

Other universities of comparable size have a range of prices according to their websites. Tarleton students pay $85 for their yearly parking. Angelo State attendees pay $90 a year, while Texas A&M-Kingsville students pay $100 compared to our $70 charge. Meanwhile, Texas A&M-Commerce students pay a lower rate of $40 a year, and Cameron University students pay a yearly fee of $50. 

On the other hand, larger universities such as Baylor’s flex permit and Texas State residential permits cost $225 and $485 respectively. 

Fowlé said many students have requested a parking garage. If the Board of Regents approves this, student’s parking permits could increase to approximately $150, but no decisions regarding this matter have been made yet.

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