Paved over and priced out
Welcome back to campus. It’s been a traumatic two years. We’ve been through a lot, but thankfully things are becoming more normal – whatever that means. Inflation is at 7 per cent. It hasn’t been this bad in decades. Also, here’s a tuition hike of 3.5 per cent. And, if you’re an international student, thank you for keeping this university financially feasible. Your $10,000 tuition fees per semester certainly go a long way to balance the budget. It’s great to be back, isn’t it?
On top of inflation, tuition hikes, and runaway prices, students are also expected to pay what seem to be exorbitant prices for parking. If you want to park somewhere reasonably close on campus, expect to pay between $650 to $800 a year.
Rising costs of living, tuition hikes, inflation, and terrible wages make the prospect of attending university more and more untenable. The University of Regina’s Comprehensive Budget Plan for 2022-2023 states that the university is relying on increased enrolment to make up for the deficit – which is expected to be about $3.5 million this year. But if the university wants to increase enrolment, then why do more and more barriers to entry keep appearing?
Many students are expressing frustration at rising costs, especially related to parking. By this, I mean students are pissed off that they have to pay over $600 a year to rent a parking stall. $600 a year for a 120 square foot slab of concrete in the flattest part of the western hemisphere. What gives?
When prices get prohibitively high, human ingenuity comes to the fore: Kramer Boulevard and Centennial Street being constantly packed with cars, more and more people are trying to find ways to skip the parking pass and leave cars off-campus. Nico Sullivan, a first-year Nursing student, explained his experience parking, or lack of, on the campus. For Sullivan, driving his own car is more expensive, but better utilizes time out of his day.
“I have to drive to school,” said Sullivan. “It takes me 15 minutes to drive there. If I took the bus, it would take 40 minutes to an hour. One of the transit routes has two bus transfers; I just decided to drive.”
With high prices of parking passes, Sullivan cannot afford to park on campus. Getting onto campus turf requires a hike each time he needs to attend classes. “I park on a residential street and then I walk about 15 minutes to class on average,” explained Sullivan. “It depends on where I can get a parking spot.”
Sullivan will continue this trend into the winter. He said this trend will continue unless there is a cheaper option to park on campus. “The cheaper passes are about $55 a month, but that’s nearly half my monthly food budget,” said Sullivan. “The cheapest pass is about $153 a semester, but the lot is way out in the boonies. So why not just park in a residential area for free?”
Even before the pandemic hit and prices went up, Sullivan was still making the great hike through the residential area, past McDonald’s and through the intersection onto campus, because the price to park was too high.
Thousands of dollars each semester go into attending classes, and students are still getting gouged by the high costs of parking. Parking tickets continue to leave students’ wallets a little bit lighter.
The Carillon has reached out to Parking Services for a response, and expects to receive one by next issue.