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Parking FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why do students have to pay for parking?

Parking is a self-support program, which means that CSUSM cannot use general fund or tuition revenue to fund parking construction, operations or maintenance. Parking fees are user-based; only those who use parking services pay for them.

Why are other CSU schools cheaper than CSUSM’s parking fee?

As a younger campus, CSUSM has had to build parking lots as well as our parking structure without state support. Many of the other CSUs were able to build their parking lots and structures before the parking program was decentralized by the Chancellor’s Office.

On our campus, all the land available for surface parking lots has been utilized. Any future additions to parking will be parking structures which are considerably more expensive* to build than surface parking spots.

*It costs approximately five times as much for a structure parking space versus a surface parking space.

How were the current parking rates established?

In 2002 a Parking and Transportation Task Force comprised of students, faculty and staff developed a parking fee plan to meet the short and long term needs of the campus. The parking fee plan was approved in 2002 and the new fee structure took effect in 2003. The plan included planned parking increases in 2003, 2006, and 2009. The planned increase in 2009 was modified to two smaller increases in 2009 and 2011. There has been no increase in parking fees since 2011.

How are the fees used?

The revenue generated through the incrementally increased parking fee funded the construction of the parking structure that opened in 2010, adding 1615 parking spaces. These fees will also be used for the second phase of Parking Structure 1 (PS1), which will add another 1200 spaces. At the same time, Parking and Commuter Services is building parking reserves to enable the campus to increase parking capacity without further drastic fee increases. 

What if there are no spaces available?

While the parking structure does fill up quickly, CSUSM generally has parking available in Lot F, Lot B, or Lots X, Y and Z. We are currently exploring technology that will allow you to see where parking is available before you get to campus.

(Parking Lots F and B may not be as far away from campus as you think! Did you know it takes an equal amount of time to travel to Craven Hall from the back of Lot F as it does from most places in Lot B?)

What happens to money collected from parking fines?

All monies collected from parking fines are used to assist with alternate modes of transportation (such as bike lanes, racks, subsidized rates for transit passes, etc.) and cannot be used for parking construction.

Why do special events get free parking?

They don’t. Each department, division or campus organization which sponsors a campus event arranges with Parking to purchase passes or reserve an area through a charge-back. 

I can’t afford to pay for parking at CSUSM, what else can I do?

There are numerous alternate modes of transportation options that can be used to get to campus, such as carpooling, vanpooling, bicycling, or taking the sprinter or other public transportation. See a list of alternate modes of transportation options.