Include partial WSU parking prices in tuition

High price of parking passes should be lowered by including part of the cost in tuition, eases financial burden for some



Those who need to arrive daily to the Pullman campus by car are charged hundreds of dollars just to be able to park. The WSU buses are an option for some, but where they run and for how long limit their effectiveness and some students need cars just to get to school.

DEYANIRA TOVAR, Evergreen columnist

Similar to WSU’s buses, WSU parking services should be partially paid for by all students, not just those who pay for a parking pass.

WSU Transportation Services is entirely self-supported. Every construction project and maintenance plan are covered through assessed fees, Transportation Director John Shaheen said.

In this case, self-supporting means the student who uses this service are the sole providers of the service’s funding. This leaves rather large sums to be covered. The estimated cost over the next five years to build, maintain and repair parking facilities are $2.6 million, according to the WSU Transportation Services website.

It’s fair that those who use the Pullman campus’ parking should have to pay for the privilege but parking passes being the sole source of funding is too much of a burden on those who need them.

The cost of parking passes at WSU is a serious detriment to those who need a personal vehicle just to get to campus. WSU offers buses for those living off campus, but they aren’t always a good option. The routes do not reach everywhere in Pullman or run at times that fit a student’s schedule, such as for those with work or study sessions that run late into the night.

What’s worse for these students is that the price for parking is rising and there’s no negotiating where it’s going to come from.

“When people pay for parking, they are paying to support the existing facilities and at different times to construct new ones,” Shaheen said. “State funds and tuition money cannot be used for parking and there’s no grant money for parking, so there’s no other source.”

The price for parking is set by strict necessity, only charging what’s needed to run its facilities. Students must pay for parking or transportation in some way no matter what, but if the school changes how many students pay for it, it could ease the load put on the shoulders of those who need affordable parking passes.

If we switch the primary funding source from individuals who purchase a pass to all students at WSU and include it in the tuition, it would aid students who only have one option.

Every student already pays a set fee each semester to fund Pullman Transit for its buses, it is only reasonable that a similar system should be put in use for parking on campus. The brunt of the cost would still be paid by those who choose to use it, but if even less than 5 percent of the price of a parking pass was spread through the tuition costs of WSU students, the effect would be deeply felt by those struggling with paying for parking.

It would require a significant change in the structure of how WSU’s parking services are handled, but it would give those who need a personal vehicle on campus a break from the hundreds they might pay for this service already.