Food, parking, tuition and credits — almost everything at George Mason University is becoming more expensive.
The price of a general student parking pass has increased from $250 to $275 this year. Commuters who purchase a general student parking pass will not be allowed to park in Lot J. Instead, commuters have the option to purchase a Lot J parking pass for $415.
The Lot J parking pass allows commuters to park in Lot J as well as all other general student lots. The garage permits are twice the price of general student parking passes, so this year garage permits cost $550. The West Campus lot pass is still $90 for the year.
According to Director of Parking and Transportation Joshua Cantor, the price of an annual permit goes up roughly $25 each year. The prices for parking permits are set after going through a budget process and figuring out how many permits Parking Services is going to sell.
The prices of parking permits are also determined through historical trends and enrollment data. Cantor said that “operations have been running in a deficit the past couple of years” and Parking Services is trying to figure out the bare-bottom price they can set for a parking permit and expect to break even.
“The construction cost of parking garages can range from $15,000 to $20,000 per space, whereas a surface lot such as Lot C would be about $2,000 to $3,000 per space,” said Cantor.If more parking decks are built on campus, the price of parking permits will increase in order to collect revenue to pay the debt service.
“The largest expense we have is what’s called debt service,” Cantor said. “Essentially it’s like making a mortgage payment on a house. So we have debt service on construction that we pay back bonds over 20 to 30 years depending on the terms of the bond sale.”
Tuition for Mason students is increasing as well. According to Mason’s student accounts website, an in-state undergraduate student who is taking 12 to 16 credits can expect to pay roughly $4,533 — without financial aid or scholarships — this semester. An out-of-state student taking the same number of credits can expect to pay $13,272.
In spring 2011, an in-state undergraduate who was taking 12 to 16 credits was paying $4,242 for the semester and an out-of-state undergraduate taking 12 to 16 credits was paying $12,624.
In the past, students would pay the same amount for taking 16 to 18 credits, but that has changed. In-state students can expect to pay $377.75 for each credit over 16 credits and out-of-state students can expect to pay $1,106 for each credit over 16 credits.
In addition to the price of parking and tuition going up, students can expect to see an increase in food prices this semester according to Sodexo Resident District Manager Ram Nabar.