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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

MSU Students on Higher Parking Fees, Space Availability

Scott Harvey

Parking for Missouri State University Students will increase by 20 percent this summer.

Student Cassidy Bland has a parking permit, but she plugged a parking meter today. She says she’s just grateful to have a parking spot at all.

“I got so frustrated once, that, I was already late for class, and I just went home,” Bland explains.

And starting this next fiscal year, students like Bland will pay an average of $30 more to park on campus. The Missouri State University Board of Governors approved the recommendation by President Clif Smart last month.

The school had not raised parking permit prices since 2006. Smart, however, says the 20 percent increase is necessary to keep up with inflation.

“Because there are additional  expenses that go with resealing, repaving and maintaining  parking lots, so we had been depleting those reserves and ultimately needed to get back on pace,” says Smart, who spoke to KSMU on the topic last month.

In addition to general maintenance, Smart explains that the additional revenue will be used to create another 100-150 more parking spaces. In total, he estimates the university will gain about 250 new spaces before the next school year when you factor in lots currently out of service due to construction projects.

Approximately 10,000 students and university faculty and staff have a parking permit, but there are approximately 8,500 total parking spaces on campus.

Bland says the current parking situation makes it hard to have a car on campus.

“You can’t come from 10-11, or you’ll never find a parking spot, so you have to set your schedule around those times,” she explains.

Many students share her frustrations.

“It’s just too often that it’s always full, and I have to park somewhere else  that is way farther than I intended it to be,”  senior Ben Smith explains.

For some, not parking on campus at all is a better option.

“It’s easier for me to just park at home and walk,” sophomore Nathan White says.

For those that feel the new fees are beyond their price point, Smart says motorists will have the option of a cheaper, orange permit. At $65, the permit can only be used during the day, and only in lots that are on the edge of campus.

For some, like junior Abby Mellovitz, the cheaper permit is not worth it.

“Parking on the outskirts is kind of dangerous with all the car thefts, parking on campus is more safe. Why would you risk your car being stolen or broken in to?,” Mellovitz says.

Cassidy Bland worries more about the vast MSU student population. She’s not sure if any improvements will solve the parking issue. Bland gestured to the parking permit on her car that she couldn’t use today. She says the fee increase next year will hurt financially.

“It sucks because it already costs like $76 for that right there, that I barely even had, and it was either get one, or don’t come to school.” 

The new fees go into effect on July 1.

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