With in-person classes starting the week of Sept. 21, many students have purchased the required pass needed to park on campus. The cost of a parking pass for students who commute to campus for the 2020-21 school year is $163. While this may seem like a reasonable price to some, it is important to acknowledge that the fall semester has currently been online for roughly five weeks. Like myself, the majority of students who live off-campus have not used their parking pass during the five weeks of online courses. Additionally, when in-person classes do resume on campus, they will be offered in a hybrid format. Therefore, some classes that would usually be offered on a Tuesday and Thursday for example, may only occur on campus one of those days each week. So, not only are Clemson students paying to park for less than two whole semesters, but their classes that do require commuting will only meet once a week.
Since professors have the option of teaching in-person lectures or telecommuting, students do not have to physically go to campus to participate. For example, I am a senior taking 13 credit hours, and only one of my classes has decided to return to campus for an in-person hybrid class. The remaining four of my classes will continue online for the entirety of the course. This means that I am still paying $163 to park on campus during this current fall semester, as well as my final spring semester, despite the fact that only one of my classes will meet on campus during the fall semester, and there is a large possibility that said class may only meet once a week. While the logistics of the following spring semester are still uncertain, I find the price of this parking pass to be excessive considering the current situation of the fall semester. Even if Clemson decides to attempt face-to-face instruction for the spring, some professors and students have decided to not return to Clemson for the whole year, so some online elements will remain. I am sure that many other students are in a similar situation where they only have a couple of classes scheduled to meet on campus this semester. Since we are paying a ton of money for online classes, Clemson students might as well take advantage (if they feel safe) of the in-person instruction offered. However, paying $163 to park on campus for potentially one day a week is, frankly, unfair. I am aware and understand that these are uncertain times; however, there does need to be some sort of refund system in place. If students are paying the full ticket price to park on campus and only receiving half of its value, a refund should be on the table. That being said, if the university does intend on partially refunding parking permits, open communication to its students about this issue is of the utmost importance, considering many are in a tough financial spot due to the COVID-19 pandemic.