With the costs of obtaining a college education so high, some students are outraged by the requirement of paying for a parking permit every year.
At Johnson State College parking permits are $50 per semester or $75 for the entire academic year. This is considerably less than many other schools. For example, at University of Vermont, the cost of a parking permit is $180 per semester. However two of JSC’s sister schools, Castleton University and Lyndon State College do not even require students to pay for parking permits and fines are only issued for parking in restricted areas.
According to Director of Public Safety Michael Palagonia, the requirement for permits was driven by security concerns, and he views the process of registering vehicles as an opportunity to educate students on the rules and regulations of parking on campus.
“The main reason we have permits,” said Palagonia, “is so that we have some control of vehicles that are on campus, so that we know who is parking on campus… Being able to know who a vehicle belongs to is very important in case of an emergency.”
Parking permits have been a requirement for as long as Palagonia can remember; however, it wasn’t until 2007 that students started being expected to pay for these permits. “I never understood why I had to pay so much to park my car here when I already paid so much just to be here,” said former student Joel Boivin.
When asked why the change was made for students to start paying for parking permits Palagonia said, “to conform to the norm of other schools and create extra revenue… All of our sister colleges have permits, Castleton being the only one that doesn’t charge.”
For whatever reasons, JSC student Taylor Swan, feels she pays enough to attend the college as it is, without additional parking fees. “I pay thousands of dollars to go to this school,” she said. “There should be enough parking available for me to commute to these extremely expensive classes without additional costs. Something’s not right here.”
According to Palagonia, on average Public Safety writes approximately $20,000 in parking fines annually; however, many of those fines go unpaid as the owners of the vehicles are unknown. Public Safety’s Security Officer Michael Laflin says that the money goes “to help cover the costs associated with maintaining our college parking lots, walkways and roadways.”
Woody Dionne, head of maintenance at JSC says the college spent $36,272.73 on maintaining parking lots, walkways and roadways last year. Dionne says this bill does not even include the cost of new vehicles, new plows, paving or grading, and it well exceeds the revenue brought in by parking permits and fines.