Why do most colleges have strict rules/issues with parking?

Even though faculty, commuters, and residential students all need places to park, I sometimes wonder why colleges don’t focus more on making sure that there’s enough parking lots/spaces for everyone, including overnight guests and visitors (not affiliated with the university).

For example, I think overnight guests and visitors should be able to park anywhere on campus during the weekends (with a parking permit including a phone number) since professors and commuters are usually at home during the weekends.

This would also apply to off campus parking as well, depending on how many parking spots are available at each apartment complex.

However, this proposal would go into effect Friday evening until Sunday evening, so that no problems would occur.

Campus security would also drive though each parking lot Sunday evening to see what cars are affiliated with the university or not, which is why a phone number is required with the permit to give them a reminder to move their vehicle or risk getting ticketed/towed.

My daughter at NU doesn’t have her car there so not sure how that works, but my daughter at Wake does and this is exactly how they run the parking. Between 10pm and 6am you have to have a pass or student with you to get on campus.

Purdue loosens their parking rules on weekends too.

Some schools are more car friendly than others though.

Football parking on weekends. In EVERY parking lot.

The schools are trying to stay green and encourage public transit.

Even so, there would be too many cars, even on the weekends if everyone knew that parking was free and unlimited on the weekends.
Also, you would get all kinds of events and the general public, seeking parking for games, overnight airport freebies, and yes, that would have to include people who are homeless who would like the protection and security of a campus space. Some of these people are also students.

Speaking from personal experiences (at a both a private college and at a huge large public university with over 40K students) that would be A LOT for the security agencies to patrol. The liability insurance for security services would be expensive for a university.

We had a nearby high school whose students were practicing their driving skills, in our university lots, and they ran into parking structures, lights, stairwells and damaged other property without leaving notes, so the university had to chase them down via camera footage. Eventually, they had to hire extra security to warn or ticket non-licensed drivers.

The parking lots would have to be huge to accommodate the extra cars. Plus, land around a university would cost a bundle. The universities have to update classrooms/buildings/dorms/labs. University property can be physically limiting.

A student or faculty member can show up at any time, during a weekend, especially when midterms and finals are occurring. What happens if the public parking spaces overtakes the priority need for student and staff parking on the weekends?

Stay green, ride a bike, shuttle, Lyft, or skateboard to campus.


At all of my kids’ campuses their permits are their license plates which get scanned, so they must be visible at all times. There are places for visitors to pay to park.


Beg to differ here, BIGTIME! I meant to address this!

  • I was a commuter at one campus, and had a campus job that required me to be there on my weekend shift to open up and maintain the 24/7 labs. My daughter’s campus had tutoring, with GA’s on campus, on the weekends, holding sessions.

  • I do not know of ONE professor who didn’t come in on the weekends to accommodate their research or to meet with student groups. They definitely don’t get reimbursed for all of the extra time spent on campus serving their staffs and students.

  • My thesis panel came in on a Saturday afternoon because it was the only time they were all free at once!

  • Research is conducted in labs and you can’t bring home artifacts or delicate items requiring climate controls.

  • One time, my professor had me babysit her rambunctious preteens, on campus, while she conducted a make-up test for some undergrads; her babysitter contracted the flu.