It now costs to have a car on campus — $50, to be exact.
Effective this semester, Hillsdale College is requiring students to pay $25 per semester to register their cars. If a student’s vehicle is found without registration, they must pay $75. The school will use the collected fees to pay for parking lot maintenance, including paving, patching, and sealing.
Dean of Men Aaron Petersen called the fee a “small and reasonable amount,” saying other schools charge “in the hundreds” for registration. Student parking at Michigan State University costs between $106 to $306, and it’s $125 to $350 at Hope College, according to their websites.
“Parking on campus is at a premium, especially with all the construction projects underway,” Petersen said in an email. “It’s probably human nature to cringe a little at any increase, but our students are responsible and good at partnering with the college.”
The college’s previous policy did not charge students to register their vehicle and ticketed only $35 for a non-registered vehicle. There is still no charge to register a bike.
Hillsdale College security did not respond to requests for comment.
Some students said they are unhappy about the policy.
“All a fee does is create a disincentive for students to actually register their cars,” senior Josh Orlaski said in an email. “Everyone knows that if you don’t register your car in the first place, it is very difficult for Hillsdale security to give you a ticket, so it is silly to add a fee to something students don’t want to do anyways.”
Orlaski, who had a car on campus both last year and again this year, added the college should reward registration instead. He suggested a bookstore gift card for students who register on time.
Senior Maria Theisen expressed similar feelings, saying that because she registered her car last year, it is easier for the school to ticket her.
“Someone who evaded this rule the past three years could continue to do the same thing — the college does not have their plate on file,” Theisen said. “By following the rules in the past, I was punished by having to pay the $50 fee, [which was] put in place because people weren’t following the rules.”
Some students took issue not with the policy but with the amount of the fee.
“While I fully understand that our college is much less expensive than many in the nation, it’s still a lot of money,” junior Corinne Prost said in an email. “Adding $50 to those charges is another burden, and I don’t think an altogether necessary one.”
The college would disagree.
“The college prides itself in being responsible and efficient with its physical plant and its maintenance,” Petersen said. “These fees help support the college in this.”