Campus parking fees are too expensive

Editorial Cartoon drawn by Cassidy McMullen

Current parking rates at Durham College and UOIT are not affordable for students. With debt among students and young adults in Ontario on the rise, students should not be expected to pay the high prices for parking available at Durham College and UOIT.

An article written for the Chronicle in 2014 sends a call to action saying the parking passes are too expensive. Parking at Durham College needs to change.

A single, annual parking pass at DC/UOIT ranges from $400, to as high as $700. The passes go on sale the first Monday after Canada Day, and according to parking services, sell out around the end of August or early September each year. The available permits sell out so quickly, students are not guaranteed a permanent spot in overcrowded lots.

College students are hard-working. Most college students work tirelessly to balance classes, homework, and jobs to pay for tuition, bills, groceries, and textbooks – adding parking fees for students who drive, on top of these expenses can make college budgeting a nightmare.

In addition to parking expenses, those who own a car must also afford insurance and gas prices every month, which makes having a car and attending college difficult. The average gas price in Ontario at the time this was written, was $104.147 per litre.

Several studies have shown adding financial stress to students increases the likeliness of poor academic performance. High parking fees are an additional stress for students, one that could cost them a chance at graduation.

People may own a car, but cannot afford to park on campus. They may choose to take public transit as it is less expensive. Durham transit is not only overcrowded, it frequently runs late, and is a frustrating method to get to school. As a result, commuters will be more likely to attend other schools with affordable accommodations to fit their needs.

Trent University in Peterborough, for example, has economy parking rates which cost $267.75 per year.

The campus parking administration says maintenance fees for the lots range from $5,000 to $10,000 a month. Maintenance fees include services such as salting and snow removal in the winter.

The cost of parking on campus does not reflect the people who are buying the passes, and does not fit the income of struggling students. It is unfair to expect students to pay a high price for parking when many students struggle with finances.

This becomes a bigger issue for mature students looking to begin post-secondary education or to return to school. Most mature students have access to a car but high parking rates add to the cost of tuition and textbooks, making college pricier than it already is.

Students are hard-working and put in hours of labour to pay bills and support themselves. For students who have access to a car, paying for parking on top of gas and insurance does not fit into their budget.

Parking is a large percentage of Durham student’s mandatory fees. The average price of a parking pass at Durham Collage and UOIT is $587.50. The mandatory fees at Durham College include the average tuition cost, $2,850.59, and the additional school fees of $1,140.55. Adding those fees to the average parking pass cost, parking totals to 12.83 per cent of the students’ total fees. The expensive parking fees on campus do not fit the income of students.

There needs to be a change made by the college’s parking administration. According to the onsite parking manager, Ross Carnwith, “All surplus funds go back into the institutions of DC and UOIT. In short, this help keep the schools running.”

The over-pricing of parking should not be necessary to keep these institutions running.

If parking fees are made to be affordable, Durham College and UOIT will be a better environment for staff and students, and both schools will see significant growth in the coming years.

The parking prices are too expensive and need to be lowered to better represent the student population.


Shana Fillatrau

With files from:

John Cook

Jacob Kirby

Alexandra Clelland