CSUN student parking permits rank as the fifth most expensive of the 23 California State University campuses, according to data gathered from CSU campus police departments.
The prices of parking at other schools range from $108 a year at CSU Monterey Bay, to $643 a year at CSU San Marcos.
The reason for the inconsistencies in prices is because each school determines how much money it takes to run their own parking services division.
“By law, parking can’t get money from student fees like tuition,” CSUN Police Department Capt. Alfredo Fernandez said.
The CSU Budget Office considers parking fees to be a Category V fee, which means like housing and extended education, it is a self-supporting program.
Some factors that go into determining the cost of parking include student population size, and number of available spaces.
“Parking prices are going to be different depending on the campus,” added Fernandez, who also runs Parking and Transportation Services.
CSUN, for example, has nearly 9,000 parking spaces for student and disabled use.
CSU Fullerton has almost the same amount of spaces at 8,640, but because they recently built three parking structures on campus, they charge students $440 a year for a parking permit.
“Here at CSUN, we’ve tried to keep the parking price down,” Fernandez said.
He added that the last increase in the price of a parking permit was in 2009 when it went up four dollars to the current price of $180.
By contrast, CSU Long Beach has slightly more parking spaces at around 10,371, but the campus only charges students $246 in parking for the year.
Students had their own opinions about the price of parking on campus.
“Since tuition is high, parking should be free,” said Cristal Amigon, 20, junior social welfare major. “Since Long Beach is around the same size as this school it should at least be the same price.”
Other students advocated for change in the different parking prices.
“I think the price should be standardized for all the schools (in the CSU),” said Victor Hugo, 22, senior psychology major.
He said at the very least the price of parking should be lower.
“I’d like to see it go down to around $90 a semester,” he said.
Other students try to avoid parking on campus by carpooling or taking the bus like Natalie Brewster, 20, junior elementary education major.
“I try to avoid bringing my car because it seems like there’s never enough parking at the start of the semester,” she said.
Brewster also said she usually doesn’t drive herself until halfway through the semester.
“Sometimes I’ll wait until the middle of the semester and buy the parking permit for half off,” she said. “By that time, there’s enough parking.”
Currently the CSUN parking permit can be purchased online for $90 for the remainder of the semester.
Students can also take advantage of the Transit Center, which serves Metro and AVTA buses as well as the CSUN shuttle to and from the Metrolink station. There is also a student transit subsidy for students who take Metro buses and trains.