College is already expensive enough
Making the choice to further one’s education at a university is a huge commitment, both time-wise and financially. The expenses that pile up in one year at North Dakota State University can vary anywhere from $9,309 to $16,289 depending on where you’re coming from and what your major is. If you are a freshman living on campus, that amount essentially doubles due to housing, a meal plan, student fees and other books and supplies.
While it makes sense to pay a lot of these substantial costs, the one extra purchase I cannot wrap my head around is the parking here. It is nothing more than an unnecessary financial burden. Having to pay $185 for a resident or commuter permit is already pricey, considering that purchasing a parking permit does not guarantee the holder a parking space in the lot they bought it for.
The same can be said for campus faculty, who have to pay $65 for their permits. Should they have to pay to be working at their own jobs? Should we, as students, have to pay even more to go to classes? It all just seems so counterintuitive.
While students can use the MAT bus transportation system around the Fargo-Moorhead area, one has to work around its schedule. Missed the bus? Too bad, wait for the next one (assuming that they are up and running that day). I am all for public transit, but in North Dakota it is difficult to execute. I have had a lot of friends that live off campus struggle to figure out the timing for it, and instead turn to bumming rides off others if they live too far away for a quick walk. If they choose to haul a bike and a lock to campus, they run the high risk of it being stolen.
As if making students pay tens of thousands of dollars for their degree isn’t enough, why is campus making students pay another couple hundred so they can drive themselves home during breaks? The parking on campus is treated as nothing more than a business opportunity when it should be a courtesy.
As if this predicament isn’t already frustrating enough, the parking enforcement is the true pain in the ass. I can overlook paying for parking and having to walk the three blocks to my dorm, but nothing makes me angrier than seeing the “ticket boys” (as students on YikYak like to call them) prowl the lines of cars. I don’t know if they need to meet a quota or what, but they try way too hard to be good at their jobs.
Most parking tickets are for being in the wrong lot or for being in overtime in the 30-minute spots. The painful experience of getting a ticket for something or another is a common experience across campus. This often deters students from even wanting to attend class, as sometimes it’s just an extra fee to park for the duration of that class.
Another issue with the parking tickets is that they can be detrimental to students that do not have spare money to be throwing around. One miniscule mistake can result in hefty fines. I know that for some low-income students, paying the fees actually ended up being cheaper in the long run than paying the flat rate for their parking permit would have been.
Overall, I think the university will be just fine without the parking revenue coming in. Not only that, but it may boost interest in coming to class if someone isn’t too busy worrying if they’ll come back to a white sheet of paper fluttering against their windshield wiper.