By Adriana Ruiz
Reducing costs and creating a more convenient process for students were key factors in discontinuing student-parking decals, said Pamela Ansboury, associate vice chancellor for finance and fiscal services.
According to the college website, students are not required to have a parking decal on their vehicles.
However, the $25 student access fee is still linked to tuition “regardless of credit hours, class location or if only web-based.”
“It is not a parking permit; it is an access fee,” Ansboury said.
Ansboury said the student access fee also allows access to campus facilities, information services on or off campus and 24-hour security by campus police.
She said the decision is more cost-efficient because prior to the student access fee, students were required to pay a $50 non-refundable parking permit regardless if they attended both semesters.
Now students only pay the access fee during active enrollment.
Ansboury said this will be more convenient for students as they will not have to worry about waiting in line for vehicle registration or receiving a decal in the mail.
“We used to have lines of students,” Ansboury said. “This change will be extremely beneficial to students.”
Ansboury said about $15,000 to $20,000 is spent on printing and distributing the decals, and an estimated $35,000 will be saved.
According to a Sept. 3 email from Ansboury, the revenues from the campus access fee are used first to cover construction, repair and maintenance of streets, roadways, parking lots and garages.
“Revenues can also be allocated through the annual budget process to provide student scholarships or technology to further innovate teaching and learning for students,” Ansboury said.
Ansboury said the decision was part of the original request when the student access fee was approved to begin in fall 2013.
Decal use continued through spring 2014 because the parking garages were not complete and decals were already ordered.
Faculty members are required to register their vehicles to park in faculty lots. Parking decals are $50 for the year and are deducted from paychecks.
Linda Boyer-Owens, associate vice chancellor of human resources and organizational development, said there are a small percentage of faculty members who do not drive.
She said if those faculty members wish to opt out of the parking decal, they must contact human resources and they will work with them on a case-by-case basis to have the fee removed.
Ansboury said the idea of discontinuing the decals originally came from Alamo Colleges Police.
Chief of Police Don Adams said he does not oppose the decision of discontinuing the parking decals and thinks it will benefit students.
He said the decision was approved for all Alamo Colleges, but this campus had questions regarding how to differentiate between students and faculty versus non-students.
He said it’s different on this campus because of the businesses on Main Street and San Pedro Avenue.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a big problem,” Adams said. “People who are parking there belong there.”
Adams said the hassle of distributing and enforcing parking decals outweighed the value of identifying students and faculty on campus.
Adams said although citations will decrease, it will not affect parking enforcement officers job stability. Instead, he said their jobs will be reclassified.
He said they will not be replacing anyone but instead some of the staff will transition up.
Parking enforcement officer’s still issue citations for parking illegally in faculty lots, fire lanes and spaces for people with disabilities.