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The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Editorial: Yes, even parking needs to be discussed

While Fullerton College says student success is one of their main priorities, it is important to remind them that each day for many Hornets starts with parking.
Hornet Media

Many community colleges argue that their priority is to ensure student success at all costs. They even promote programs aimed to help students in this task. But, all of this starts at the moment they park their car on campus.

As of now, parking at Fullerton College is free for students enrolled in at least one class for the current semester. This alleviates paying a parking pass fee each semester, which can cost up to $40, or the stress of paying the $3 fee everyday from the campus machine, something that can be easily forgettable for students, which can lead to about a $40 citation.

It is important to remind all parties involved that this has not always been the case. Before the COVID-19 pandemic and the extra funds the school received as aid from the government, Fullerton College had students pay for their own parking.

In addition, many students also struggle to find parking spots on campus during busy times, sometimes even forcing them to park far away from where they’re supposed to attend class.

Inside Higher Ed presented a study with 10 community colleges around the nation, and out of the 6,000 students surveyed, 80% said that they struggle to find parking at their institution and 10% found parking too expensive to afford.

Many students already struggle with other complications such as transportation itself, paying for school materials, food and housing insecurity, and more. Now adding parking issues to the mix, while many might not feel an effect, can become a kink in a student’s daily schedule.

While the Fullerton College campus provides free parking for students, as soon as the school’s COVID-19 relief fund runs out, it could also mean the termination of free student parking on campus.

Most students would likely be able to pay the $40 semester fee, but for others, it could mean another financial stressor, or in some cases, one less meal for such individuals.

Having all this in mind, the question that needs to be raised is: What should Fullerton College officials do?

It might be simple to say, “just keep it free,” but we all know that it is more complex than that. Without the COVID-19 relief funds, the school will have less money in their budget. Money made from selling parking permits can be essential to keep alive certain programs that benefit students in low income communities.

To tackle this, the school can still charge each student a semester fee in order to get a permit. However, instead of replacing a direct fee on the students willing to get a permit, portions of it could be added to in-person course fees.

For example, if a person is taking one class in person, they would pay indirectly about $10 in parking fees, which will be charged when they are covering their tuition fees.

It is also important to notice that since a lot of students get their tuition fees paid by FAFSA, many will still not pay for parking.

Now, when it comes to helping students find parking at school, students living nearby could be encouraged, not mandated, to take a bike ride to campus, a bus, or even carpool if they live near another student peer. This type of encouragement helped the University of Wisconsin-Madison to have one of the lowest parking ratios in the nation.

Fullerton College and the NOCCCD must not follow the mentioned measurements as they are written word for word, but could think about implementing something similar, in order to take the parking stress away from the students.

Parking is very important, especially when it means life or death of your academic success.

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    chuck helmsMar 19, 2024 at 11:44 am

    It is an amusing observation that the illustration shows vehicles parked face-out, in violation of Fullerton College (district?) policy.