By Chuck J. Boddy, CAPP
On many college and university campuses, mandatory fees can increase the overall costs to attend an institution. From technology fees to other auxiliary fees such as recreation, student activities, or a transportation fee, many services or offerings would be impossible without a fee.
At UMBC, (University of Maryland Baltimore County) the parking and transportation departments are separate. Parking is under the division of administration and finance, and transportation is under the division of student affairs. Although this structure is no longer common in the university sector, as far I know, our leadership has no plans to change it anytime soon.
UMBC has a non-refundable transportation fee that supports the maintenance of parking facilities, shuttle buses, the campus program of traffic control, and parking administration. The student judicial parking appeals board, which is separate from the parking department, hears the appeals and adjudicates contested parking citations.
One great thing about the transportation fee is that students do not have to pay out of pocket for a parking permit, as it is included in the mandatory fee. The not so great thing is that many students decide to drive to campus, as they look at it as parking being free, since they do not have to physically pay for it. Crazy? I know, I’ll save that topic for a different post. Financially, this works out well because both the transportation and parking departments are always fully funded. This keeps the cost of our citations, parking permits, and visitor parking rates much lower than those of our peers. The rates have only increased once since 2012. So, as we look to future and look for alternative ways to fund our departments, there will always be pros and cons to consider.
Chuck J. Boddy, CAPP, is director, UMBC Parking Services.