Why is the expanded parking opportunity being limited to students on assistantships?

Date: April 2023


Dear Deans,

I wanted to ask about parking options for graduate students on fellowships. I received an extremely competitive fellowship that funds my graduate research. However, the announcement about the parking changes indicates that I am NOT eligible for this new pass availability.

As a student that receives the same stipend as my peers during the academic year, and considering the fact that I have the same research expectations and graduation requirements as my peers, I want to know what guides this opportunity to being limited to students on assistantships rather than graduate students as a whole?

“A fellow commuter”


Dear “A Fellow Commuter,”

Over the last year, the GPSA and the Transportation Office heard feedback that graduate assistants, and especially TAs, need parking options that mirror employee parking to access and perform their required duties. Under the plan just announced, graduate students that hold paid assistantship appointments (as defined by University Policy 1.3) will have the opportunity to buy employee-tier permits during those semesters.

Students who need to be on campus to fulfill their own academic degree requirements (whether they are undergrad, M.B.A., J.D. , M.S./M.A., other professional degrees, or Ph.D. students) have access to student-tier parking options. Ph.D. students who are on fellowships/scholarships may spend many hours per week on campus taking courses or conducting their dissertation research but that time is explicitly in furtherance of their own degree, which does not qualify for employee-tier parking options.

Ph.D.s and, indeed, all students who live off campus and commute face parking and commuting challenges. Parking, especially near central campus, is quite limited. This new option is a step in the right direction, but it does not establish a blanket parking solution for all Ph.D.s (or any other group of students); further, the issue of parking scarcity remains. I do believe this option will be helpful for TAs, GRAs, and other graduate assistants who have to manage the extra scheduling constraints that come with their assistantship duties.


Jason Kahabka

Jason Kahabka
Associate Dean for Administration