According to Crain’s Detroit Business, Wayne State University president, M. Roy Wilson, will dip into his budget to pay for a new free parking program for incoming freshmen this fall.
“Students kept saying parking is too expensive, so we proposed a model that Oakland University uses,” said Anthony Eid, president of the Wayne State Student Senate.
Oakland University’s parking costs are built into the tuition and fees paid by students. At Wayne State’s main campus in Detroit, students can purchase semester parking passes or pay daily fees to park in structures and lots. Parking passes are $287 per semester, while daily parking fees are $3.75 per entry.
About 2,800 students are expected to be eligible for the Wayne State program in the fall. Wilson will use funds from a discretionary fund for the new initiative, which is expected to cost several hundred thousand dollars, so the parking department won’t lose expected revenue, said Rob Kohrman, associate vice president for budget, planning and analysis.
The projected revenue for the parking department for the 2015-16 academic year is $14 million, which includes revenue from all sources such as faculty and staff parking permits and visitor parking, said Tim Michael, WSU associate vice president for business and auxiliary operations and chief housing officer.
In February, surveys were sent to students to help gather information about their parking experiences. “Wednesdays at 12:30 (p.m.) are the busiest because a lot of classes are offered then, many students are on campus, it’s the heaviest time,” Michael said.
Some are worried there will not be enough parking spaces, but Michael said officials are working to minimize impacting other students who already pay for parking spots.
“I want to give credit to the students and to the faculty Senate because they were the ones who brought some of these issues to our attention,” Kohrman said. “If we did this pilot, more students would come to campus more, and students might not base their schedule on how much they pay to park.”
Kohrman said Wilson wants to see what kind of influence free parking can have on students’ experiences at school, including getting to class on time and getting to know professors, advisers and new friends.
Michael said the logistics for the fall program are still being worked out, but they will be announced during summer orientation programs and more details on July 1.
There have been preliminary talks about expanding the pilot program for the winter semester, if Wayne State should follow the Oakland University model or a follow a different route.