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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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Not Another Parking Fee Increase : Students and staff alike have shown resistance to a recently proposed parking fee increase

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The parking fee increases are sucking students who drive dry.

 

 

Students at UMass Boston have beaten the odds when it comes to getting an education. Given each of our unique situations, students here couldn’t attend a traditional private, four-year college with dorms. Some of us are parents, most of us are in the work force, and many can’t afford the cost most institutions demand for higher education. 

As the only public university in the city, UMass Boston naturally caters to many different students of many different backgrounds. We come from all over the world and all over the state. That being said, transportation becomes a serious consideration for everyone attending our commuter campus. 

Paying for parking here at UMass Boston is now $6 per day. A planned fee hike of $8 per day was supposed to take place this fall but has been pushed forward due to ongoing negotiations. In addition to this, there is another planned hike for Fall 2013 to $10. 

Each of the UMass campuses offers a pre-paid parking pass, but UMass Boston’s is the most expensive one in the system. At UMass Dartmouth, a semester parking pass is $160 for a residential student and $110 for a commuter student. UMass Lowell charges commuting students $200 per year and $250 for residential students. UMass Amherst charges $320 or $230 per semester (depending on where you are authorized to park) and if you live on campus, it costs $285. Here, the semester parking pass costs $325 ($342 if added to tuition bill so financial aid can cover the cost).

A lot of people use their cars to get to campus. For some, a car is a better financial decision than dorming at another school or renting an apartment in Boston. Raising the parking fee to $8 in the immediate future, and to $10 sometime down the line would drain commuting students considerably. $2 doesn’t sound like too much money, but if you come to campus five days out of seven, that’s an additional $10 per week, an addition $150 (about) for a 15 week semester. An increase to $10 would double this. A $10 parking fee would likely cost the student an additional $300 per semester. This is not acceptable.

A question I can’t seem to answer is why the administration is raising the parking fee this semester and not, say, two years ago or two years in the future. Why now? Where will the extra money go? What will it pay for? 

Mitch Manning, Outreach Coordinator for the Graduate Employee Organization and a MFA candidate in creative writing and English echoed my concerns. Manning is a part of the ongoing parking fee negotiations between the administration and the unions on campus. “The issues you raise are central questions that the university has not disclosed. Where this money from the increased fees will go and what it will support are unclear at this time. If you couple this parking increase with the 5 percent fee hike approved this past May, you can see a trend emerging of the UMass administrations slowly and incrementally pricing out its own community.”