If you attend classes at Florida Atlantic University, you must pay to park – even if you don't drive.
And some students, like Jay Margolis of Boynton Beach, find that unfair.
"I find this practice by a publicly funded state university to be unethical and immoral," said Margolis, 65, who drives with a friend and wrote the school a letter of complaint. "What next, a tax on breathing while on the FAU campus?"
Margolis takes classes through FAU's Lifelong Learning Society, which caters to older adults. In addition to paying for the lectures, which cost $25 to $98 each, students must pay a parking fee of $8 for a half-term or $16 for a full semester.
"Payment of this fee is required even if no vehicle is used to come to campus," reads the Lifelong Learning Society Brochure.
Degree-seeking students must pay a steeper fee of $76.90 per semester, even if they walk or take the bus.
FAU officials say the fee pays for parking enforcement staff, parking lots, bike racks and shuttles.
By having everyone pay, it keeps the per-student cost down, spokeswoman Lisa Metcalf said. She said FAU's transportation services, which collects nearly $3 million a year, receives no state dollars so it must be self supporting.
All state universities charge a transportation fee. Some schools, including Florida International University and Florida State University, include the parking cost in that fee. Others require those who drive to buy a permit, in addition to the fee.
Herbert Shapiro, an FAU assistant provost who heads lifelong learning, told Margolis he would like to eventually raise money to pay for a parking lot for participants.
"As guests on this campus, and as an auxiliary of FAU, we abide by all university rules and regulations and pay fees accordingly to our host," he said.
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