Article 2 Draft: What are College Parking Permits Really For?

“Maintenance, painting, and lighting of the parking lots is not cheap, and we use this money to help offset the costs of this.”

Brett Lyon- Director of Safety and Security at Morningside College

Students are paying an outrageous price just to get where they need to go for their education all around the United States. 

Besides tuition, room and board, textbooks/supplies, there are many more hidden costs like transportation and parking permits. Why do students have to pay for a permit to park on campus?

After interviewing several fellow Morningside students about this nationwide issue, they all the same opinions. Some explained that the price of the permit is cheap, but there is no parking in return. Or that the price of a parking permit is “just fine” compared to other big colleges that pay $400-$500 dollars for their parking permits, but those bigger campuses have more lots to park in. On the flip side, some other students I interviewed said that the parking passes are way too overpriced for the parking that we do get. Also, that us as students, “have no other option but to buy a parking pass from Morningside. If we do not buy one, we get a ticket.” Students explained how the price is too steep for what we actually get for parking, for example, freshman can only park in one lot and the Dimmitt lot only holds about 30 cars. Lastly, a sophomore at Morningside College explained how for a parking permit, that is expensive for only being allowed 1 or 2 lots at most. 

Along with interviewing fellow Morningside students, I also had the opportunity to interview the Director of Safety and Security here at Morningside College, Brett Lyon, about campus parking at Morningside. I choose Campus Security because they are the ones that set the parking regulations and deal with everything there is to know about campus parking. 

The first question I asked was the simple, why do students have to pay for parking? Chuckling under his breath Lyon added, “Maintenance, painting, and lighting of the parking lots is not cheap, and we use this money to help offset the costs of this.” Redoing a parking lot once it comes to the repair stages can cost from $20-$50,000 and the bigger lots can cost upwards of $200k. Lights and painting are a constant cost and Morningside has to replace lights, repaint lines and that is an additional cost that happen each year. That is what the parking permit money goes towards each year. Personally, I could tell with each answer that Lyon was not fond of this interview. The next question was why the permit prices were raised this year and why are lots restricted to certain permits. Lyon slowly responded by saying how we have not increased parking permit fees in about 5 years, and this one time was only a $5 increase; if you think about other colleges like Iowa, ISU, and UNI, those permit fees range from $200-300 per semester. Parking lots like Grace Methodist, Olsen Student Center, and visitor lots at Morningside College are restricted during the day so students living on campus are not taking up parking spots for commuters/faculty/visitors. Lyon added, “We also restrict other lots for those that live in specific buildings as those lots are small in size at times and have limited space.” 

Overall, parking permit fees are a nationwide thing and will not change any time soon. Whether that permit money goes towards maintenance, painting, and lights, or something completely different; it is being used in some way for the college. 

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