Price hikes to parking passes were announced via email last week. graphic by Emma Palmer

TU’s raising of parking rates won’t solve budgetary issues

The University of Tulsa still charges less than other major Oklahoma universities for parking.

Fun fact: parking rates at the University of Tulsa have gone up!


Passes for the Commuter Lots jumped from $26 to $41, red tag parking lots (dual purpose) for both commuters and residents increased from $101 to $201 and normal resident-only lots more than doubled from $51 to $131. If you happen to have a great uncle who has left you a decent inheritance, you may be interested in the super special premium lots, which have moved from $501 to $801. Yikes, but who wouldn’t want to park behind Zink Hall?

As for staff and faculty, you get an employee discount! Such a discount means you can purchase those extra great red tag lots for $161, aka four commuter lot passes! These numbers also contain the $1 processing fee, a fact that generates confusion among the populace, with two sets of numbers floating around. Of course, because TU has a bad habit of trying to hide information from the enquiring eye, the old numbers came from me using the Wayback Machine to look at the parking rates in early February 2019.

While I don’t relish the idea of paying more for the opportunity to go to my classes, I do understand that TU charges less than other universities. For example, the University of Oklahoma charges commuters $274 for a full academic year, which makes the TU price of $82 for the same time period look pretty good. Continuing to Oklahoma State, their residential lot price of $125 doesn’t compare favorably to TU’s.

Perhaps TU does charge far less for parking, but while money talks and tries to distract me, I can’t help but see charging one’s own faculty to park as exploitative. I understand that letting people park for free doesn’t jive with the budget, but some professors already buy commuter lot passes over the other options, and I see this move by the university as exacerbating an already existing and deeply frustrating situation. Making the faculty passes four times the price of a commuter pass says that the university doesn’t mind forcing their employees into what I affectionately call Plebland, which in turn indicates they don’t mind the potential issues of raising prices too high.

The university needs to be very careful with moving parking pass prices, because if the red tag lot prices are too high, more people will purchase commuter passes, which will fill up the commuter parking lots and cause issues with overcrowding. Since we all trust the administration to fully do their homework when changing things, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if the extremely intelligent and clairvoyant happen to be wrong, the parking standards will degrade into a demolition derby, with cars muscling into spots and parking on the side of the road.

As for the residential lots, moving the price just sucks. For a university that attempts to court first-generation college students, the non-monetary basis behind True Commitment, raising the parking pass prices by over 50 percent seems counterintuitive. Honestly, I can only afford to go to this university because of scholarships and the fact that I can commute from home — deciding which pass to buy takes real planning and thought. I can’t be the only one who doesn’t have the liquid cash to spend on a several-hundred-dollar spot in a decent lot, so I hoof it from Plebland to my classes. This increase might break the bank for too many students and cause them to look into dropping a pretty red pass for a yellow one. Of course, the university happens to have a teensy weensy budget issue, and the $250,000 they plan to make off of this price hike would help to close the deficit, but why should we raise prices instead of cutting somewhere else? Perhaps administrative costs? Perhaps we could have a public audit to see just how much money is spent in that area?

Post Author: Adam Walsh