As Tuition Prices Rise, Fresno State Spends $4 Million on Parking

Fresno State University has no shortage of parking. So why is this school spending $4 million to replace trees with asphalt? Image: Stop and Move

Perhaps you’ve seen the headlines recently about how higher education costs have been ballooning, leaving a generation shackled with crushing debt?

In its recent series on college costs and student debt, the New York Times noted that one factor, according to some analysts, is the host of expenses colleges and universities have assumed that are unrelated to the actual business of learning: fancy gyms, private dorm rooms, sports programs.

If there’s one area that’s ripe for savings, it’s parking, with each space in a surface lot costing more than $300 per year to operate and maintain — and double that when you factor in the total lifecycle costs of acquiring land and pouring asphalt.

One institution of higher learning that definitely hasn’t gotten the memo is Fresno State University, which is spending $4 million to replace trees with asphalt, according James Sinclair at Network blog Stop and Move:

If you’ve heard only one thing about the California State University system in the past couple of years, then it’s probably the words “budget cuts”. Details like “enrollment slashed” or “tuition hiked”. “Classes eliminated”. Remaining classes “doubling in size”. That’s what we’ve been reading in the news every month for the past few years.

There may not be money for silly things like classes, but adding 600 unneeded parking spots, and taking away some of the little greenery the university has? There’s always money for that.

There is not a lack of parking at Fresno State. There won’t be a lack of parking in the near future, as enrollment keeps getting cut. Even if there WAS some kind of parking shortage, there are many ways to work around it, outside of dumping $4,000,000 into asphalt.

As English professor Craig Bernthal stated, “The University is set to have about 1,200 fewer students next year,” Bernthal said. “How many parking spots do they need in the immediate future?”

Excellent question.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Bike Portland reports that the city is going to great lengths to market its premier bike boulevard. Pedestrian Observations explains why the central business district, despite often being the most expensive real estate, is the best deal in town. And Baltimore Spokes shares an excerpt explaining how Americans came to be drawn to cars that were intimidating and militaristic.