The view from your recession (markets in everything edition)

When the concept of starting a valet parking service came up at a
recent Florida Atlantic University Board of Trustees meeting, it seemed
less out of place than one would think. With the number of students
growing, and the number of convenient parking spaces on campus
unchanged, the idea to charge students and faculty for such a
convenience did not seem unreasonable.

Florida Atlantic is just
talking about valet service. Other colleges have implemented it.
Florida International University and Columbia University introduced
valet programs this spring. The University of Southern California has
had a program in place since 2008, and High Point University brought in
valet at the behest of its president, Nido Qubein, to provide a better
student experience. California State University at Sacramento has also
begun a premium parking program.

Here is much more.  Alternatively, you could view this as a behavioral economics attempt to extract surplus from people who are too often late for class.  By the way, Nido Qubein, the cited president of High Point University, runs a motivational speaking business on the side.


It's simply a measure to extract more money from rich students (or those willing to spend on status symbols like valet parking) without decreasing the affordability for the rest.

The universities have restricted parking places to discourage excessive car usage in the first place - they could easily reverse this policy if the goal was to "provide a better student experience" or to reduce tardiness. They do not, so it is clearly a profit-maximizing move.

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I read this as another outcome of college costs outrunning inflation for so long. It has reached the point where other things (cars, electronics, spring break vacations, climbing walls...and valet parking) are much less significant in comparison. Even at state tuition rates here, students are paying ~$1000 for a course that meets twice a week or 30 times in a semester. If the cost of each class session is $35, really what's another $5 for valet parking? And, of course, for private institutions, multiply by a factor of 2 at least. If you're spending $75-$100 for each class meeting, why wouldn't you upgrade to valet parking (just as you'd be willing to pay for valet parking when dropping $100 on a nice restaurant meal)?

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