It's that time of year when incoming students suffer shock when they find out the cost of a parking permit at UNC Charlotte. It's true, permits are expensive!
If there's any good news about permit prices, it's this: for academic year 2014-2015 there was no increase. It's been years since that's happened.
So, why does it cost so much to park on campus?
- State funding is not used to pay for parking facilities;
- Tuition dollars do not supplement parking;
- Collected citation fines cannot supplement construction or maintenance of parking facilities;
- Therefore, parking has to be self-supporting which is done through the sale of permits to those who wish to use parking facilities on campus.
What do Permit fees pay for?
Almost all of it goes toward design and construction new parking decks, maintenance and debt service (paying back construction bonds) of existing decks/lots, with a small percentage going toward traffic control staffing and support of the CATS Campus Shuttle.
The primary factor that determines permit price: cost of new deck construction and replacing flat lots with decks.
It’s expensive to design, construct and maintain new parking decks necessary to accommodate enrollment and demand. Existing surface lots make way for new buildings and residence halls; those spaces must be replaced with decks. Decks are far better use of land than paving large swaths of acreage, but they cost a lot more to erect and maintain. In the past 10 years, UNC Charlotte has had to build five of them: East Deck III (2003), Union Deck (2006), North Deck (2011), CRI Deck I (2012), and South Village Deck (2013).
- Permit prices are determined by how much will be needed to support a ten-year financial plan that will pay for parking that accommodates enrollment increases.
- Business Services and the University make every effort to keep permit price increases in line with what’s needed to sustain current and planned parking facilities.
Other factors include:
- loss of parking lots to new building (academic and housing);
- cost of infrastructure: emergency blue lights, utility lines, cameras, etc.
If these were the only factors considered, rates would actually be much higher. The financial impact on students, faculty and staff is taken into account, too. Prices are kept as low as fiscal responsibility will allow.
Lot versus deck cost breakdown:
Design and contruction costs for surface lots
- $2,000-$3,000 (per space, depending on land condition)
Design and construction costs for parking decks
- Up to $14,000 (per space)
- Maintenance per space per year: typically 3 times the cost to maintain a surface parking space
Are there cheaper on-campus parking alternatives?
YES! There are two discount permit lots available on the margins of campus available to Commuters and Faculty/Staff.
- Lot 6A (at John Kirk and Cameron) permits are $340 per academic year. This lot is served by the Campus Shuttle Red Line Rt. 50
- Lot 27 (on Alumni Way near Harris Alumni House) permits are $210 per academic year. This is a walk-in lot not served by the Campus Shuttle; however, a Yellow Line Rt. 47 shuttle stop is about 2/10 mile walk east on Alumni Way near South Village Deck.
For Commuters who have class schedules just two days a week
- Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday permits are available per semester. Price is $165. Two-day combinations other than M/W T/Th are available also. Just inquire at the Parking and Transportation Services office and a permit for the appropriate days will be created for you.
For more information about parking permits and where each permit allows you to park, see the permit info page. Complete information about parking on the UNC Charlotte can be found in the "Everything About Parking and Transportations Services" guide on our website. You may also benefit by following @unccparking on Twitter. News and changes in parking are posted there and we answer questions, too.