Accessibility Navigation:

The Truth About UNC Charlotte Parking

Know why parking on campus is what it is.

The high price of regular, full-time permits
Permit price is based almost entirely on the cost of new deck construction and replacing flat lots with decks.

  • It’s expensive to design, build and maintain new parking decks needed for a growing campus.
  • Existing surface lots make way for new buildings and residence halls; those parking spaces must be replaced with decks, as outlined in the UNC Charlotte Master Plan.
  • Decks are far better use of land, but they cost a lot more to erect and maintain.

How permit proceeds are spent
Almost all of it goes toward:

  • design and construction new parking decks;
  • debt service (paying back construction bonds) and maintenance of existing decks and lots.

A small percentage pays for:

  • traffic control staffing;
  • support of the CATS Campus Shuttle.

Facts about how parking is funded:

  • State funds are not used to pay for parking facilities;
  • Collected citation fines cannot supplement construction or maintenance of parking facilities;
  • Parking has to be self-supporting

Lot versus Deck: cost comparison
Surface Space Design and Construction

  • $2,000-$3,000 (per space, depending on land condition)

Deck Space Design and Construction

  • $12,000 to $14,000 (per space)

Decks cost about 3 times more than surface spaces to maintain.

Why permit prices keep going up
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. As demand goes up, so must prices. Other factors include:

  • loss of parking lots to new building (academic and housing);
  • cost of infrastructure: emergency blue lights, utility lines, 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.

Until demand goes down, permit prices will continue to rise.

More permits are sold than there are spaces
If permits were sold on a one-decal-to-one-space system, thousands of students and staff would be denied the privilege to park while lots and decks would be half empty much of the time. That’s because the majority of commuter students occupy a space for less than 6 hours. Not everyone has classes or works here every day. Spaces turn over constantly in this environment.
The current formula for permits sold in relation to spaces available is working, at least for now. There is adequate parking available, all the time. Space verification counts — conducted regularly and often — consistently prove this.

Where does the money for parking citation fines go?
PaTS and the University do not financially benefit from citation fines.
There are State statutes governing our parking fines (GS 115C-457.1-3 - page 305). Basically, the law says that civil fines (i.e., your parking ticket) minus the cost of collection, have to be remitted to the State; then the State allocates the money to local public schools (not colleges and universities).
The cost of collection is capped at 20%. Enforcement and collection costs University more than the amount we’re permitted to keep.

“Don’t Let Freshmen Park!”
We often hear that (from upperclassmen). Some schools don’t allow freshmen to park on campus at all, or assign available parking based on class status.
At UNC Charlotte, everyone who buys a permit is able to park and the price is the same for students and faculty and staff;
Parking availability does get tight, especially in areas closest to the academic core, but there is enough parking for everyone. As long as that holds true, depriving permits to any one segment of the population is unjustified.

Parking advice - high use versus low use areas
East Decks, Union Deck, West Deck and the lots closest to them fill up quickly and early (by 8:45AM). Be prepared!

  • Keep a parking map with you so you can know in advance where there is alternative parking suitable for your type permit. Don’t keep circling full areas! Make another plan and move on.
  • Park in areas toward the edges of campus and take the shuttle in. Lesser used areas include the lower level of Lot 6 (on Cameron near John Kirk) which is on the Rt. 50 Red Line, South Village Deck, CRI Deck and  North Deck.  
  • Even at peak class times during the crazily busy, first two days of classes, there was plenty of parking available in the lower demand areas. The campus shuttle picks up in all those spots. It takes less time to park there and take the shuttle into the academic core than it does to circle a full deck in hopes a space comes open.


PaTS welcomes your questions, comments and suggestions:



Parking Services /
Transportation Office


View Map

PaTS Office (#23 campus map)

Office Hours

Mon-Fri, 7:30 am – 5:00 pm

Call Center Hours

Mon 5:00 am – Friday 10:00 pm



PDF icon Permit Policy Guide

PDF icon Everything about Parking

PDF icon Parking Ordinance


car icon N.C. carpool matching

CATS icon CATS Transit App: RideCATS


Subscribe to Parking News by email