Are there enough parking spaces on campus for everyone?
Yes, vacant parking spaces can be found on campus at all times. However, these spaces may not always be as convenient as a motorist may like. All parking lots are serviced by the Cat-Tran shuttle bus during class hours.
If I want to bring a car to campus, what should I do?
See Registration of Vehicles and Parking Permits in the Parking Regulations.
Where is the Parking Services Office located?
The Parking Services Office is a division of the Police Department and is located in the Camp Building Annex at 114 East University Way.
When is the Parking Services Office open?
The Parking Services Office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on normal working days. The telephone number for the Parking Services Office is 828.227.PARK (7275). While the office is closed at night, on weekends, and on holidays, police officers are always on patrol and can be reached by dialing 828.227.7301 (non-emergency) or by calling 828.227.8911 or 911 in case of an emergency.
What does it cost to purchase a parking permit?
Parking registration fees are established each year by the University with the approval of the Board of Trustees. The current annual registration fees are $60 for faculty and staff and vary for students, based on length of time:
- Full Year $56.50
- Spring Term $28
- Summer Term $14
- 6-Week Term $7
Why do I have to pay to park on campus? Where does the money go?
The State of North Carolina provides no funds for parking facilities on UNC-system campuses; therefore, the operation of the parking system on every campus must be self-supporting. That means that the cost for the purchase of land for parking facilities, the construction and maintenance of parking lots, and the administration of the parking system must be solely supported by revenue from vehicle registration fees. All state-supported schools in North Carolina charge a fee for parking on campus. Most private schools also charge a fee.
How do vehicle registration fees at Western Carolina University compare to those at other universities and colleges?
Western Carolina University' vehicle registration fees are consistently among the lowest in the UNC system. Many schools in the system have fees of $100 or more per year and some have fees that exceed $300 per year. Also, some institutions have restrictions that prohibit some students from parking on campus. Western Carolina University does not restrict campus parking access to students. However, Western Carolina University's low parking fee also means that we do not have the resources that other universities have to building parking garages and decks. To build such a facility at Western Carolina University would require a substantial increase in the parking fee.
What is "proof of ownership" and why is it required to register a vehicle?
Proof of ownership is a state-issued vehicle registration card, a title, a bill-of-sale, an official state inspection receipt, or insurance card that contains identifying information about the vehicle being registered along with the owner’s name. Proof of ownership is required to confirm license plate numbers are correct and to prevent fraud.
Why is proof of insurance required to register a vehicle?
A state law passed by the North Carolina Legislature in 2001 requires that any vehicle registered on the campus of a state university be properly insured. Under that law, we are required to assure such coverage and forbidden to register vehicles that are not insured.
What if I bring my vehicle from a state where I am not required to have insurance?
This law applies to all vehicles; therefore, if you bring a vehicle from a state that does not require insurance, you must purchase vehicle insurance before you can register your vehicle.
May I register more than one vehicle?
See Multiple Registration in the Parking Regulations.
What is a transferable permit?
See Multiple Registration in the Parking Regulations.
May I register a family member’s or a friend’s car?
Yes, if that person is not a student at WCU. Generally, students may not register another student’s vehicle because of the possibility of acquiring an unauthorized parking classification. For example, if a resident upperclassman registers a freshman’s vehicle, upperclassman privileges would then be extended to the freshman. This fraudulent act carries a fine and revocation of parking privileges for both students.
What happens if I try to register someone else’s vehicle?
Fraudulent registration carries a fine and revocation of parking privileges for both parties for one semester.
What if I bring a car to campus and the Parking Services Office is closed?
Park the car in an area that matches your classification (freshman, upperclassman resident, commuter, staff, or faculty). You have 24 hours from the time you bring a car to campus to display a parking permit. If you get a citation for being unregistered during this time, it will normally be waived if you were in the proper area. But, if you park in an area that does not match your classification or commit other parking violations, you may be required to pay the fines for those violations.
If my vehicle is not registered, how will anyone know that it is mine and attach parking fines to my account?
There are a number of ways that the parking staff can track the owner of a vehicle including wheel-locking and towing. A vehicle that has outstanding tickets may be impounded until the owner is identified and the tickets paid.
What if I trade cars or wreck my car during the year after registering my vehicle?
The hangtag permit may be moved to your replacement vehicle. However, please contact the Parking Services Office so that your permit information may be updated.
Where should I park?
See Designated Parking Lots/Areas in the Parking Regulations. Also, please consult the Campus map.
Why must freshmen park in the overflow lots and not at their residence halls?
There are not enough parking spaces at the residence halls for all resident students to park near their hall. Neither is there land available near the residence halls to construct enough additional parking to allow freshmen to park nearby. Western Carolina allows freshmen to bring cars to campus with the understanding that freshmen must park in the overflow lots. Many institutions do not allow freshmen to have cars at all.
Why does Western Carolina University allow freshmen to park on campus?
Western Carolina University's location makes it one of the prettiest campuses around. Unfortunately, this location also deprives the campus community of some of the amenities, such as a well-developed transportation system, that are found in major metropolitan areas. If freshmen were required to park off-campus, they would find that their options for parking and transportation to campus extremely limited.
When can a resident student get an upperclassman parking permit?
When a resident student is classified at the sophomore level or above, that student will be eligible for a resident upperclassman permit (R-decal) and may park in those designated areas at the residence halls.
I cannot find a space anywhere! Where can I park?
Spaces are always available in one of the following locations: The Outreach Center, and the overflow lots at the Stadium, the Ramsey Center, and the Baseball Field.
How much are parking fines?
Parking fines range from $10 to $250. The average fine is $40. A complete list of fines for specific violations is included in the Parking Regulations. In addition, some violations may cause a person’s parking privilege to be revoked.
What do you do with the money that you collect from parking fines?
According to state constitution of North Carolina, fines collected by state agencies must be given to the local school system. The University is allowed to keep approximately 20% of the fines to offset collection costs. However, the amount of fine revenue that the University is allowed to keep is significantly less than the amount it must spend on enforcement practices
What is meant by "wheel-locking?" Where does it apply? What is the fine?
Wheel-locking is the practice of putting a "boot" on the wheel of a vehicle that is illegally parked so as to immobilize the vehicle. Currently, all faculty and staff parking areas are designated as wheel-lock zones. Students who park in these areas during business hours may receive a parking ticket and have their vehicle wheel-locked. There is no fine associated with the wheel-lock. Rather, the fine is associated with the ticket that is issued in conjunction with the wheel-lock. However, there is a fee of $50 for removing the wheel-lock to compensate for the Parking Services Officer having to put on the boot and then remove it.
Where do I pay fines?
Fines are placed on the student or employee account in the University OneStop.
What happens if I do not pay a fine?
Parking fines are considered a debt owed to the State of North Carolina. The "Debt Set-Off" Act requires the University to make attempts to collect those fines. Students who do not pay fines will not be able to register for the upcoming semester, receive copies of their transcripts, or graduate. Unpaid fines are reported to the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office for collection and may be garnished from state tax refunds. Individuals with an outstanding debt to the State of North Carolina may not be employed as a state employee. Visitors who fail to pay fines may also be subject to garnishment.
I believe that I was unjustly issued a parking ticket, what should I do?
See Appeals in the Parking Regulations.
If I let a friend or relative borrow my vehicle and they get a ticket, why am I responsible for it?
According to state law (NCGS §116-44.4), evidence that a vehicle is found parked or unattended on the University campus in violation of the parking rules is prima fascia evidence that the vehicle was parked by:
the person holding the parking permit for the vehicle, or
if no permit has been issued for the vehicle, the person in whose name the vehicle is registered with the University, or
if no permit has been issued for the vehicle and the vehicle is not registered with the University, the person in whose name the vehicle is registered with the NCDMV office or the corresponding agency of another state.
In other words, if the vehicle is registered to you either through the University
or the DMV, you are responsible for the vehicle and any tickets that are issued to
the vehicle. Therefore, be careful about who you let drive and park your vehicle on
What does it mean to have your parking privileges revoked?
See Habitual Offenders in the Parking Regulations.
What is meant by habitual offender?
Habitual offenders are motorists who receive three or more parking tickets within a semester. Habitual offenders have their parking permit suspended for varying lengths of time depending upon the number of tickets they have received. If a habitual offender parks on campus during the suspension period, his or her vehicle will be wheel-locked or towed. There may also be a reinstatement fee for the permit depending upon how many tickets the person has received. For more information, see Habitual Offenders in the Parking Regulations.
What happens if my vehicle breaks down in an area where I am not authorized to park?
See Disabled, Abandoned, or Derelict Vehicles in the Parking Regulations.
May I park illegally for just a few minutes to run into a building?
No. If everyone were allowed to park illegally for just a few minutes, the parking situation would be chaotic.
What if I leave my hazard lights or emergency flashers on?
Activation of emergency flashers does not excuse illegal parking. Rather, it simply draws attention to the fact that you are illegally parked.
What if I have heavy articles, suitcases, or groceries to unload?
Loading zones are set aside at nearly all buildings. Please use them. Please be considerate of other students by loading and unloading quickly and moving to a legal space. If "packing" is necessary before loading, pack first and then move your car into a loading zone. If you cannot locate a loading zone for the building that you need to access, please call the Parking Services Office at 828.227.PARK (7275) for instructions.
Am I required to register my bicycle? What does it cost?
No, but you are encouraged to do so anyway so that there is a record of your bicycle including its serial number.
How many parking tickets are issued per year?
Approximately 15,000 parking citations are issued every year. Our goal is always to increase compliance and reduce the number of citations that we must issue.