Parking prices gouge students’ wallets


Tiffany Trent, Assistant Opinion Editor

A benefit of attending California State University San Marcos is that compared to other local universities, tuition is relatively inexpensive. This is not the case for parking. The parking at CSUSM is out of control in more ways than one.

The cost of parking is astronomical. A semester parking pass at CSUSM will cost you a whopping $338. This is easily twice as much as the parking passes at other CSU schools. For example, a semester parking pass at CSU Chico is $121 ( and a semester parking pass is only $108 at CSU Monterey Bay ( It’s unreasonable for us to have to pay almost $650 to park on campus for a school year.

There is a general unrest amongst students regarding parking fees.

“School is already expensive enough,” says Lexy Perez, a Psychology major and Assistant Entertainment Editor at The Cougar Chronicle. “So why make us go into even more debt for coming here?”

Personally, I cannot afford the lump sum of a parking pass even with financial aid and a modified part time job. Instead I have to pay for daily passes week by week, which isn’t any cheaper.

Another irritation students are voicing involves overcrowding with the parking. The fact that we pay so much to park and then have to make the choice of circling the same parking lot for 20 minutes or parking far away and walk makes the injustice much worse.

Sarah Youngren, a senior Literature and Writing Studies student and Media Assistant at The Cougar Chronicle, said she thinks it’s ridiculous that CSUSM added thousands of more students to our school but did not accommodate parking.

“I shouldn’t have to pay $338 a semester to park 10 minutes away from school,” she said.

Some students said that the parking problem is a lack of accountability and concern with the powers that be at CSUSM.

“The university should be more transparent with students as to where the money for parking is going,” Nicole Holman, a Literature & Writing Studies student and Community News Editor at The Cougar Chronicle, said. “With so many students enrolled this semester, shouldn’t the prices have gone down? Parking is the number one issue for students right now and is something the university should alleviate ASAP.”

Rhiannon Ripley, a Math major and Editorial Assistant at The Cougar Chronicle, agreed with Holman.

“With more and more students coming on campus you would hope that prices could drop…scholarships shouldn’t be consumed by parking fees.”

I sat down with Parking and Commuter Services Director and CSUSM alumni, Belinda Garcia to discuss the parking problem.

She explained that the parking here is “a 100 percent self-support program established to provide parking facilities and resources.”

This means that CSUSM receives zero financial support from the state, which leaves the burden of costs to fall on students.

Garcia talked about why parking prices aren’t decreasing with the inflow of new students.

“Reducing the cost of student parking permits now could mean not being able to meet financial obligations or could inhibit the ability to build additional parking,” she said.

Securing future growth means that prices won’t be going down anytime soon.

The end result is that the CSUSM Parking and Commuter Services’ hands are tied when it comes to funding which unfortunately leaves us students saddled with the heavy financial burden. For more information regarding parking and a breakdown of the school parking budget and expenses, visit