Student Parking should remain free on campus

For this research project, I would like to talk about parking, and why I think students and teachers should not have to pay for parking tickets on campus.

The idea of committing to study a degree can be quite overwhelming. When you take in the factor that you will be signing a contract with the institution to pay for a course, showing up to lectures, tutorials, and group meetings, to finally get a certificate in your specific field of choice and hopefully getting a job in the future. This is understandable, as this is one of the ways to get a career in what you are passionate about, but what is not fair is the fact we have to the worry of parking while balancing work, study, commuting, paying rent and other tasks to peruse this opportunity which can be quite draining.

Now, the reason I have pointed out the obvious with getting a degree is because I want to talk about parking, and how it is such an unnecessary factor that weighs on everyone when commuting to uni.

I know right now that parking is free on campus due to COVID and the stresses it has on students already, but my argument is that it should have always been free and should stay free after university goes back to full time on campus. I personally do not see why students or teachers need to worry about paying for parking when we are already sacrificing so much to study and the stresses we already have.

Talking about the demand of parking, I know that half the university is online now so parking is not at the peak as it used to be in previous years, but the demand will be there and this needs to be taken in account as there are a lot of students who commute (Batabyal, 2008) and the price for parking adds up when you are not lucky enough to get all your classes on the same day.  

I do understand how this change may affect universities and the income they usually receive pre covid from parking as this is shown in an article ‘Post-COVID Australian Universities’ which explains “With the imposition of COVID-19-related travel restrictions, most Go8 universities face additional losses in revenue from accommodation fees, parking and other services provided to overseas students.”  (Birrell, 2020) But I think this change may benefit students.

While talking about the loss of income when it comes to universities, I think this is a great point to turn to when it comes to the income of students, and how continuous fees have a long-lasting effect on students. An article by Rasmussen explores the effects higher education has on low-income students and the measures that should be taken with government assistant programs (like HECS) to help students have an easier time studying. For example, pay a parking debt in the future if you really needed to park on campus. (RASMUSSEN, 2006)

To further explore this issue, I do think parking is a big factor when it comes to studying, and I guess it is the same for Staff, I personally hate paying for parking when I need to go to work (as I work in a shopping centre) and the free parking has limited spaces, so I am sure employees on campus would feel the same way. This is talked about by Sargisson as she wrote an article talking about Commuting Choices and the effects it has on students and Staff. She does point out the environmental impact’s universities have of having paid parking as it offers people other alternatives to commuting, but in some cases, driving to university is the only option students have if they live in rural areas.(Sargisson, 2018)

So, my pole had a total of 15 votes, with 14/15 agreeing with the idea that it should stay free, and 1/15 voting no.

This topic is timely and relevant as it is something all universities will have to deal with, weather they charge or do not charge, I think it is a topic that will always be brought up. It can be achievable if I interview students and give out polls and surveys that will help encourage people to interact. I want to hear other opinions on this matter and why people are for or against this idea.

References

Batabyal, A. A., 2008. A probabilistic analysis of two university parking issues. Springer-Verlag , p. 112.

Birrell, B., 2020. Post-COVID Australian. The Australian Population Research Institute, Volume 62, p. 107.

RASMUSSEN, C. J., 2006. Effective cost-sharing models in higher education, Insights from low-income students in Australian Universities. Higher Education, Volume 51, pp. 1-4.

Sargisson, R. J., 2018. Do parking fees affect commuting choices of staff and students on a university campus?. Southampton , Volume 2, pp. 190-194.

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