OPINION: Stuck between a rock and a parking space

Parking fees are a horrible burden for students along with other fees, this must change



Parking fees are one of the many ways students get nickel-and-dimed, but getting rid of it all together doesn’t solve anything

GUS WATERS, Evergreen columnist

The raise in parking rates and ticket fees are bad for students, but not raising these fees now will do even more damage to students in the long run.

Rates on parking permits, tickets and daily and hourly parking are set to increase by anywhere from 50 cents to $100, WSU Transportation Services wrote on ots website. This may not seem like much, but when you consider all of the other items students need to pay for like RDA, residence hall fees and textbooks, it becomes a significant financial burden.

These rates, while damaging to students, are important to the long-term financial stability of students and WSU Transportation Services.

John Shaheen, director of WSU Transportation Services, said the rates raised because parking facilities need to be repaired now to avoid more expensive repairs later. Furthermore, the state legislature has a policy where each state funded university’s parking needs to be self-sustaining and will receive no public funds.

While this may be a responsible financial decision for the long term, this does not mean that it doesn’t hurt students.

“I think it’s unfair to students,” said Ryan Lee, WSU senior kinesiology major. “We are paying a REC fee on top of tuition, and we are still required to pay a fee just to be healthy.”

Students are upset at the raise in parking rates on campus, and they deserve to be. However, this resentment at parking rates isn’t just about parking rates, it’s about how they fall into the jigsaw puzzle of the bad financial system in place for college students.

Yet if rates aren’t raised this year, the situation will only get harder for students.

WSU’s parking facilities are in need of repair, like yearly water and snow damage repairs, and repairs constantly grow more expensive over time because of inflation, and weather taking its toll on the facilities. 

If these facilities aren’t repaired regularly, students will need to pay even more down the line, putting already financially burdened people in a worse place.

Keeping rates on students low is a necessity for any university and it becomes even more important now, because students might not have the money they need to be financially stable. If what really matters is keeping students in a good financial position, then the rates need to go up.

While it is true that the coming rate raise will be better for student’s safety than delaying it to a later date, it is a lie to say that the rate raise is good for students.

Students are put into a situation where they are consistently nickel-and-dimed, and paying up to $776 a year for a parking space just makes that worse.

Pullman tries their best to help student transportation needs with a transit system that is free for them, but the fact remains that a car is needed for many students to get where they need to go.

The parking fees are not going away time soon, and while they are needed to keep parking safe and rates lower on students, they should not be a permanent solution. Parking rates are a symptom of a nationwide problem, not the cause of it.

More needs to be done by the government, whether in Washington state or Washington D.C. to help students through college.

But right now we need to be practical.

Students should not have to pay this many small fees that add up to an avalanche of financial stress, especially with tuition rates this high. While those who want parking rates to be low have the best intentions in mind, not paying for the repairs now will only make things worse later.