Pricey parking passes

A modern day extortion

By: Dina Usanovic

Cleveland State University is known for its affordable education. With advantages such as a lock on tuition prices, the 2-for-1 plan for freshmen, and a commuter-friendly atmosphere, attending CSU does not have to break the bank. However, there is one area in which the university does not help students save money: parking permits.

Cleveland State current parking pass prices for commuter students, via:

Parking permits cost students around $200-$300 per semester for commuters- an additional $100 will be added for overnight parking for residents. This is a high price when compared to surrounding universities. Whether the price can be attributed to limited parking availability in downtown Cleveland or the fact that parking garages are utilized, it seems to be an inordinately high one.

 Neighboring Baldwin Wallace University charges students a measly $70 per year for parking permits. While Baldwin Wallace is not a downtown university, it is still in a relatively big city. The University of Mount Union offers a similar price of $100 per year. Ohio State University offers a vast variety of parking permits for $100-$400 per year.

The question is, why are CSU parking permits so expensive? Why is the price necessary? I reached out to parking services to determine what goes into the pricing model for permits and where the money is allocated. According to Matt Neuman at the CSU Parking & Transportation Department, parking permit prices are determined by the need for covering operating costs. These operating costs include “financing of parking structures, maintaining older parking structures, lighting, snow removal, etc.” besides funding parking operations, revenue collected by the Parking & Transportation Department is used to support various campus programs, including security officers, blue-light safety phones, the bicycle repair station, EV charging stations, and various academic and athletic projects and events. 

When taking these costs into account, it is reasonable to charge a higher parking price for students. However, charging students nearly four times as much as neighboring universities for parking seems exorbitant.