FACEOFF: Let’s talk about VIP parking this time

NSU: You only pay once for parking and transportation costs, so stop complaining 

by: Dean Gabriel Williams

There is no denying that parking at NSU is, at best, taxing. This is primarily because a vast majority of students commute to and from campus, as opposed to being residents of the university.

As with all issues, it is important to compare and contrast parking issues here at NSU with parking issues at other institutions of higher learning. For this purpose, I will compare NSU with Florida International University. The reasons are simple: both of these institutions have a disproportionately large number of commuter students, and I graduated from FIU, so I’ve experienced both first-hand.

After comparing and contrasting the two institutions, here are reasons why students at NSU fare better with parking. NSU has more than 28,000 students in attendance, 10,000 of which   attend the main campus, while FIU has approximately 46,000 across its campuses. What this means is that FIU has a disproportionately larger number of commuter students, hence multiplying issues with on-campus parking.

At NSU, parking decals are issued at no additional cost to the student and only need to be renewed once per year. At FIU, students must pay for a parking decal, to the tune of $86.50 for the academic school year, and an additional $79.60 for the summer term.

In addition to the cost of the parking decal, FIU students pay a parking and transportation fee in excess of $80 per semester enrolled, including the summer term. NSU students pay no direct parking costs. They incur indirect parking fees when tuition and fees are paid, while an FIU student pays a direct parking and transportation cost of $259.84 for one academic school year. FIU students enrolled in the summer term directly incur an additional $166.43 for parking costs.

You’re probably wondering:  Why do FIU students pay a parking and transportation fee, and not just a parking fee? That’s because the cost of campus transportation is directly subsidized by FIU students. There is a shuttle that transports students around campus, at no cost. Because, however, FIU has two primary campuses, the university facilitates the Golden Panther Express between campuses, at a cost of $2.50 one way.

This means that a student living at one campus and taking classes at another pays a cost of $5 for each trip. It is important to note that FIU does not offer shuttle service to off campus locations. In contrast, at NSU, the shuttle is a free service that takes students to locations both on and off campus.

Now, many of you will argue that students at NSU pay considerably more than students at FIU for tuition. There are, however, two things that you should keep in mind when it comes to the cost of your education.

First, just because you pay an amount for tuition and fees does not mean that you have paid for the full cost of your education. The full cost of attendance at private institutions is a combination of tuition and fee payments and endowments, while the full cost of attendance at public institutions is a combination of tuition and fee payments, endowments, and state funding.

Second, and more importantly, when you pay your tuition and fees, you not only contribute to the cost of compensating your professors, but you also contribute to the cost of compensating staff and administrators, the cost of campus services and activities, as well as the cost of the maintenance and expansion of the institution’s facilities.

So, in essence, NSU students pay for parking and transportation costs once. By contrast, FIU students pay for parking and transportation costs three times — once when they pay tuition, once when they pay their parking and transportation fees and again when they pay for their parking decals.

The issue of parking is not unique to NSU or FIU; it’s an issue that everyone living in the South Florida megalopolis has to deal with. Whether you’re at a shopping mall, at work or attending an event, parking in south Florida, simply put, is a mess.

But NSU students should at least be thankful that their parking problems are not being compounded by additional and direct parking and transportation costs. That, more than anything, would make the situation more irritating and unbearable than it perhaps already is for some students.

Students should be the VIPs at this university

by: Victoria Rajkumar

Is it just me, or does it seem like we, students, find ourselves begging for parking spots more than we do for water, sustenance and better grades? I mean, we give up our sleep, personal time and, sometimes, even our dignity in the pursuit of a parking spot that isn’t halfway across the universe from class.

If that’s not bad enough, nothing upsets me more than leaving my house hours before I’m scheduled to be in class (I live only 20 minutes away), braving the congestion and havoc of I-95 traffic, arriving 30 minutes before class just to be told, “Hey, you can’t park here” (in a parking lot some part of my tuition went into, I’m sure) because there’s an “event” going on and only “VIP members” have access to its luxurious exclusiveness.

I’ll admit that I’m a person of very little patience. But, rather than bludgeon the rude security officer with her “too-bad-so-sad” attitude, I take the long winding route to Parker, find a crappy leftover parking space (on the fourth floor no less) and sprint back to the UC, now 10 minutes late for class.

I know NSU students have it better than most Florida universities when it comes to parking. However, at NSU we have our own set of issues that need to be addressed — especially considering how much our tuition is.

Somebody at a town hall meeting once said that there is a parking spot for every student on this campus, but it may not always be where he or she wants it to be, or something to that effect. I find two things very wrong with this. First of all, it’s a bit obnoxious to say that, especially when we are all paying for these “privileges” and then wind up having them revoked out from under us to convenience someone who doesn’t even attend NSU.

Secondly, when these magical events are held, parking obviously decreases, so that ideal “there’s a parking spot for every student” theory goes flying right out of the hypocritical window. It’s like they’re putting others’ convenience over the students who actually pay money to go to this school.

Here’s a suggestion. Stay away from the Mailman parking lot and utilize the Parker garage. There’s always at least one spot left. Designate outsiders to occupy the first floor (I’d suggest sending them to the fourth floor but from my Kevin Hart show experience, they just can’t handle the exiting process).

Stop stealing our parking spaces. I mean it. There are only so many hours in the day and I don’t intend to waste them patrolling each lot in this school just to hustle over to a 55-minute class and get reprimanded for my unavoidable tardiness.

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