When morning rush hour occurs, students scramble to get in their cars, drive and compete to find the best parking spot.
And once they park, then they have to face paying the daily fee or having to buy the semester’s permit, which also doesn’t come cheap.
With all these conditions to consider, Pierce should allow their students free parking.
Although Pierce has made parking free for 2022, this is just reaching the surface level.
Students have known that they have been paying an unfair amount for parking and how not much has been done to resolve the situation.
According to the California Community Colleges, between the fiscal years of 2021-2022 the maximum allowable fee for student parking is $59 with shorter terms costing $29. And for 2022-2023, the maximum only increased. Still, this adds up for students counting paycheck to paycheck to see if they can afford their basic needs while attending college.
As Pierce is experimenting with free parking, it’s only reasonable to ask if this rule will be revised after it takes effect?
In California State Universities (CSU), the Cal State Student Association found that students have to shell out nearly triple compared to faculty for the average parking permit each semester. Not only that, but between 2017-2018, 61 percent of the $124 million made from parking fees came from CSU students alone.
San Diego Democratic Assemblymember Shirley Weber who proposed AB 532 CSU Parking Fairness Act to reduce parking permits for CSU students, recognized the unfairness of students who had to pay more for parking to subsidize the costs for employees.
Pierce can continue to collect from student parking, however this would only pose as a barrier to students and repel people from stepping foot into college.
According to The Conversation’s Editor and General Manager Beth Daley, they did a peer-review study with 27,000 former community college students in Florida, and found out 11 reasons as to why they couldn’t attend campus. Five of them were on financial issues such as concerns affording college, running out of financial aid, assuming they had holds on their account and gaining/losing a job.
So Pierce should assess allowing their students to apply for free parking permits. To create a base for funds, this college should focus their time on creating more community-based events that engage their student demographic that will also aid in outreach.
Whether or not it’s possible to have free parking, it should just be a given considering everything students have to put in for their education— the least that can be done is to have parking that’s free anytime.