CU announced on Tuesday that there will be a 5 percent increase for on-campus parking next year.
The university email from the Interim Vice Chancellor for Administration, Jeffrey S. Lipton, said that the increase will take effect for the 2013 fiscal year, which runs from July 2012 through June 2013.
According to Jena Cafiero, communication manager, CU’s Parking and Transportation Services is an auxiliary service, meaning that they are completely self-sustaining and receive no money from student fees or taxpayer money.
A CU student parking permit hangs on a rearview mirror outside of the Leeds School of Business. CU parking permits are on average more expensive than other Colorado schools but less than fellow Pac-12 schools. (CU Independent/Robert R. Denton)
In the 2011 fiscal year, PTS took in about $7.5 million, with permits making up just under $2.6 million of that revenue, according to university records. Enforcement fines made up only 11 percent of the total revenue.
Additional funds from the permit hike will go towards paying back money used to build parking structures around campus, including the new auto park beneath the Center for Community.
Current permit parker Leah Hase, a freshman business management major, is opposed to the increase.
“I think it’s unfair that parking permits are increasing along with the future tuition increases,” Hase said. “We already pay enough.”
When stacked up against other Pac-12 schools, CU’s total PTS budget of $7.5 million makes up only about half of comparable parking budgets at the University of Arizona and the University of California at Berkeley.
UC-Berkeley took in nearly $14 million in revenue during fiscal year 2011, according to Berkeley statistics. Of that, more than $7.3 million came solely from parking permits, about equal to CU’s PTS total revenue during the same time frame.
Additionally, CU-Boulder and UC-Berkeley have roughly the same-sized student body, Berkeley with only about 4,000 more students than CU’s 32,000.
While UC-Berkley’s Parking and Transportation staff consists of 100 employees, CU’s PTS has about twice as many people on the payroll.
The biggest difference in the two comes from permit pricing.
According to the 2011 University of Colorado Transportation Master Plan, CU-Boulder’s average cost of a permit parking space is $372, while at UC-Berkeley it is almost double at $654 dollars.
The story is the same with fellow Pac-12 school University of Arizona. The university has an annual parking and transportation revenue of $14.7 million, 60 percent of which comes from permits, according to Arizona statistics.
Arizona only has about 3,000 more students than CU-Boulder and charges about $100 more a year on average than CU-Boulder for a parking permit.
Senior Arizona graphic design student Kelly Engle has paid up to $1,000 for covered parking at Arizona and believes that permit prices should be lowered if their revenue is so high.
“Parking on campus sucks,” Engle said. “If you go to school there, you should get free parking.”
Closer to home
Within the state of Colorado, CU-Boulder’s PTS revenue and expenses far exceed other schools in the area.
According to a 2012 Colorado State University Parking Service Peer Institution Survey, the University of Northern Colorado brings in about $2 million in revenue, and CSU generates just over $4.3 million.
Northern Colorado is a much smaller university, with a total student body population about a third the size of CU, and they have nearly 5,400 parking spaces for permit holders compared to CU-Boulder’s 7,500.
CSU is a much more comparable institution, with a student body of 30,000. It also has just about 1,500 more parking spaces for permit holders than CU.
Senior CSU construction management student Mike Utter said that he has had a permit for five years and paid $188 this year.
“It seemed high, but compared to other universities it is affordable,” Utter said.
“Permit prices for CSU are set by our Board of Governors based on information provided by staff,” Dave Bradford, CSU’s Parking Services director, said. “Factors considered include operational, construction and staffing costs.”
CU’s PTS considers the parking pricing of other schools in the Pac-12, and consults with several representative groups including Boulder Faculty Assembly, Boulder Campus Staff Council and the CU Student Government to determine costs.
Contact CU Independent Visual Content Editor Robert R. Denton at Robert.Denton@colorado.edu.
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