By Thomas Miliano
The Student Government Association (SGA) and UMass Lowell administrators began discussions regarding parking decal rates in July 2013 following the announcement that rates for both commuter and resident students would increase to $350 for the 2013-14 academic year.
At issue was a lack of dialogue with student government preceding the announcement of the new decal rates, the necessity of better notice of rate increases in the future (for the purpose of student planning and budgeting), sustainable rate increases, and increased student representation on the Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee.
On behalf of the student body, the SGA documented its concerns in a letter to the administration and negotiated a new parking rate structure in a meeting with the Executive Cabinet.
As a result of that negotiation, the administration today announced a new parking decal rate program intended to alleviate the pressure felt by students to respond to future parking rate increases and to implement a limit on rate increases for all returning students.
Effective immediately, the changes to the parking rate program are as follows:
• No returning students will be subject to a parking decal rate increase for the 2014-15 academic year. Therefore, resident and commuter parking decals for currently enrolled students who remain enrolled for Fall 2014 will remain at $350.
• In subsequent years, increases in parking decal rates for returning students will be capped at 5 percent annually. Therefore, for students who are currently enrolled and remain continuously enrolled through Fall 2015, the parking rate increase for the 2015-2016 academic year will be between $0 and $17.50.
• Parking decal rates for new students will be set independently on an annual basis beginning Fall 2014, but rate increases for all continuously enrolled students (including students who enter graduate programs) will be no greater than 5 percent above the rate paid in the previous year.
• Effective immediately, student representation on the Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee will be increased from one to three students appointed by the SGA.
Any questions regarding the new policy can be directed to UCAPS via e-mail at UCAPS@uml.edu.
Many other helpful resources can be found at www.uml.edu/UCAPS.