The LRCCD should keep student parking free

There are already enough barriers to student success


The LRCCD will be going back to charging for parking permits in the fall 2023 semester. If they truly want to limit barriers for students they should continue to offer free parking. (Photo illustration by Jeralynn Querubin)

During the spring 2020 semester, the COVID-19 pandemic forced everything to shut down, which meant that students, staff and faculty had to work remotely. Because of this, the Los Rios Community College District issued a refund for parking permits. 

Since then, the district has not returned to charging for parking; student parking remained free for the spring and summer semesters of 2023.

But now, paid parking permits will be required for the fall 2023 semester. According to the American River College website, parking is $40 for automobiles, $35 for carpools and $25 for motorcycles. There is also a $2 daily permit that is available. 

According to the ARC website, parking permits weren’t initially required during the pandemic and the early stages of campus reopening in order to limit barriers to learning. 

“As we expand in-person offerings, we recognize the need to reduce the barriers for students to access college facilities (including in-person classes and student support services),” the website says. 

If the college and district truly believe this, then why are they going back to charging students for parking? Do they think these barriers have disappeared in one semester? 

In-person class offerings have slowly increased since colleges in the district have started to re-open and parking has remained free throughout that process. 

If the college and district believe that barriers need to be reduced as campuses return to in-person learning, they shouldn’t start charging students again just as more people are getting the option to actually return in person. 

The announcements that the spring and summer semesters for 2023 would be free came very quickly, but now that the district is going to start charging again, there have been no official updates. 

Why has there still not been a formal announcement that students will be charged for parking again? 

If the college and district are going to charge for parking again, they should give students a heads-up so they can start budgeting for an extra charge to be added. 

The college and district should be just as transparent, if not more, about the fact that they want to start charging students for parking again. 

There should be no delay in getting this information to students. This isn’t reducing barriers for students, it’s adding one. 

The barriers that were there this semester, and will be there in the summer semester, won’t just go away by the time the fall 2023 semester gets here.  

Many students struggle with paying for classes, textbooks and everything else that it takes to be successful in college. Many also have to pay for gas, rent and food as well. 

None of these things are going away soon, and adding an extra expense that hasn’t been there in multiple years adds even more stress to students.