Parking

While it’s not very full during the summer, students and employees at Texas A&M University-Commerce can sometimes be hard pressed to find an open parking spot during the fall or spring semesters.

The price to park at Texas A&M University-Commerce will be double its current amount in the next two years, according to an email sent out last week.

A university email sent to faculty, staff and students announced that the pass required to park on campus would be raised from $40 to $60 effective Sept. 1 of this year. In addition, the email announced another $20 increase to $80 for 2020, doubling the current price.

The email, which was sent out by Vice President for Business and Administration Alicia Currin, stated that parking prices have remained stagnant since 2011, and that remaining at the same price for eight years “challenged our ability to keep up with operating and maintenance costs.”

The email goes on to state: “The increase in fee revenue will be used to provide funding for parking lot maintenance and updates, promote a safer campus by adding lighting and security cameras, and to support the operations of our university police department.”

The rate increase will only affect the main Commerce campus.

In an email to the Commerce Journal, Tina Livingston. vice president and chief budget officer with A&M-Commerce financial services said that parking fees usually bring in $300,000 in revenue, and an increase of $150,000 in revenues is expected with the latest fee increase. Livingston also said in the email that the increased revenues will go toward several projects.

“It is mainly to provide fresh striping and to address minor patching [in parking lots],” Livingston said. “The new funding from the increase will allow us to add lighting and security cameras, to better maintain parking lots, and also to support UPD operations (fuel costs, uniforms, etc.).”

Livingston added that a 2.4 percent increase in tuition is planned in the fall of 2020 for students not on the guaranteed tuition plan.

The change has not gone over well with students, especially as some parking spaces are being hindered by construction, such as at the site of the new Nursing and Health Sciences Building.

“My first question was ‘will there be more access to parking?’ We are seeing a decrease in parking availability so the increase in price was a shock to me,” said Monica Paez, a university student.

Paez, who said she does have a vehicle with a parking pass, says that this could be a hindrance to purchasing a new one.

“I think I will still be able to get a pass but I know some students, especially those that commute, may have to find a place to park elsewhere,” Paez said. “It’s already such a big cost to go to school in general, so adding this isn’t very helpful.”

Zamyria Williams says she doesn’t have a car on campus, but that she expects other students she knows to have difficulties with the price increase.

“I feel like it’s unfair to the students,” Williams said. “For people that I do know, they get tickets all the time because even though they have a parking pass, there is nowhere for them to park and they have to find somewhere else to park.”

While the increase is shaping up to be a shock to the system, it is still a far cry from the costs at other comparable universities in North Texas. At the University of Texas at Arlington, the general student permit costs $210 for the year, with higher-tier options such as the “Maverick Garage Reserved” permit coming in at a whopping $1,840 per year. Other universities such as Texas A&M University-Kingsville charge $150 for students. 

Tarleton State University charges a flat $100 fee to all student accounts for parking, while Texas Woman’s University lists their parking permit at $70, less than the A&M-Commerce figure for 2020.