Campus Car Banning Continues To Expand

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Students who wish to have a car with them while attending college are finding the going more and more difficult as colleges across the nation. Some schools have a blanket ban — forbidding all freshmen students from having cars on campus — while others are using various enticements to cruise shipdiscourage students from bringing their cars from home.

Schools With Restricted Or Banned Parking

At the University of Miami (FL), incoming freshmen can bring a number of personal items with them to school including a laptop, gameboy, and other electronic devices, but the school now forbids freshmen from bringing their car.  The school provides bicycles for rent and touts Zipcar, a private company that rents cars to college students as ways for students to get around.

Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME also bans first year students from having a car while attending school. The school admits that they want to improve the college’s environmental image with Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster explaining that the decision was specifically designed to make Bowdoin greener.

The University of New England has yet to ban cars from campus but they are offering freshmen free use of bikes to help them get around. At the same time, the school jacked up the parking fee for freshmen from $80 per academic year to a whopping $300. Like many other colleges and universities across the US, the company has made arrangements with Zipcars to provide transportation options for those students still wanting access to a car.

In Wisconsin, Ripon College has offered a nice incentive to freshmen students who agree not to drive to school: the college provides a brand-new Trek 820 mountain bike, a Trek Vapor helmet and a Master Lock U-Lock – all to keep – if they pledged to leave their cars at home. I’m not sure how that works in a long and tough Wisconsin winter, but Ripon’s plan seems to be the most generous one out there.

One way to reward good academic progress is to give the right of having a car on campus only to those students who have good grades. In 2006, North Carolina A&T University issued a blanket driving ban to incoming freshmen, but promised to lift that ban for the Spring semester for students with a 3.2 or better GPA. The Greensboro school long had a problem with providing enough spaces for students to park on its urban campus.

Are Schools Going Too Far?

Although colleges and universities can basically set whatever policies they choose when it comes to their students, the difficulties and safety issues for some remains a concern. Foul weather can hamper bike riding while leaving campus at night can put students in danger, especially female undergrads who need the safety of their car for transportation to and from campus.

Finally, though not having a car on campus isn’t a hardship for some, colleges could unwittingly pull the welcome mat back from those students who insist on having a car with them. After all, if you pay $20,000 yearly for school, there is a certain level of convenience that you expect to have, resulting in some students going elsewhere for their academic pursuits.


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Categories: Campus Cars