In 2014, approximately $26.7 million was spent on the construction of William Paterson University’s first-ever parking garage to satisfy the needs of students and faculty. But after its unveiling for the fall 2014 semester, who has parked there?
“I parked there a few times when I couldn’t find parking and I was late to class,” said Saahil Govani, 22, a senior computer science major. “But it’s a last resort.”
The university currently charges an annual fee of $100 per student to cover transportation via shuttles between parking lots. In order to park in the garage, commuters must pay $115 per semester, for resident students and employees, the cost is $225 per semester, $50 for an entire summer, $5 for 0-6 hours, $9 for 6-12 hours and $15 for 12-24 hours.
These charges are even higher than Montclair State University. Commuters pay about the same, but resident students at MSU pay $162.50 per semester compared to WPU’s charge of $225. However, faculty at WPUNJ benefit by paying a base fee of $225 per semester. Montclair State’s employee parking fees are based on how much they earn per year. A permit for someone earning $75,000 and above costs $350-$400 per semester.
With nearly 11,000 students, WPUNJ is making more than $1,100,000 just on mandatory fees to cover parking and permits. This is not including any additional income the garage produces.
“It’s a longer walk, but I don’t mind,” said Govani. “I make it work.”
Others prefer to park illegally, often creating their own spots or parking in faculty lots.
“In Hobart (Hall), sometimes I’ll sneak in and park in the faculty lot but who doesn’t do that?” said Matt Coyle, 22, a senior media production major.
Adjunct mathematics professor, Christopher Berghout often faces this issue but refuses to park in the garage.
“If it were free to park in, I most certainly would take advantage of it when it’s either really cold or raining,” said Berghout.
When he first heard about the construction of the garage, he was relieved, under the impression that he would no longer have to compete for parking. Upon hearing the charges, he was disappointed.
“That is ridiculous and the average student is not going to be happy with that either,” said Berghout.
According to the university’s website, “the administration is sensitive to the financial challenges students face and has prioritized keeping the garage fees low.” However, the cost of tuition, books, on-campus living and food accumulate. Other factors such as transportation and loan interest increase expenses. The parking garage fees are additional costs students wish to avoid.
“It wouldn’t hurt if I really had to, but I don’t see the point in doing it,” said Coyle.
Not only is the amount of money to park a concern, but paying the cost does not always guarantee a spot. The university offers parking permits for the facility to all WPU students and faculty members, but only provides 1,000 spaces. Though it has increased parking by 22%, adding to a total of 5,500 spaces on campus, neither the garage nor lots four, five and six promise students parking spots. Students rather pay less money for the same odds.
“I find it ridiculous to pay money to the school for a parking garage that only gives me a chance at a spot and it’s not guaranteed,” said Rebecca Hennessy, 20, a junior elementary education major. “I pay enough money to the university.”
Linette Genao contributed to this report.