BHSU Charges Commuters Extra to Park on Main Campus

Should commuting students be charged to park in campus parking lots? Why should commuting students have to pay for parking spots that are always available? Why is it that other colleges and entities of Black Hills State University do not charge for parking?

The answer to the first question is no. Commuting students should not be charged an extra $89 to park in parking lots on campus. On top of paying tuition, rent, and living expenses many students commute from Sturgis, Belle Fourche, Deadwood, Rapid City, or Spearfish. This means they are spending more for gas than a student who gets to live on campus or in Spearfish.

According to, tuition of a student living off campus is approximately $13,000 a year and if that is added to an average of around $400 for rent per month – taking into consideration a student does not pay rent for the summer – the total cost would be $16,600. This amount does not include food, gas, or book costs.

The cost may be waived if you take your classes through the Black Hills State University – Rapid City. BHSU-RC does not require commuters to pay for a parking passbut operates through BHSU who does require it. These commuters are students taking classes that cost the same as if they were taking them on campus in Spearfishbut take them in Rapid City. It is important to take note of the difference between being a commuter who lives in Rapid City and one who lives in Spearfish. The difference being $89.

It is not just BHSU-RC that does not require students to buy a parking pass, but Gillette College — about an hour and a half away from Spearfish — does not charge their students for parking either. A sister college to Gillette is Sheridan College and students are not required to pay for parking there either.

Two examples are shown when looking at Gillette and Sheridan Colleges together and in looking at BHSU and the BHSU-RC together.

The Rapid City campus is part of BHSU, yet they do not adopt each other’s standards. Gillette and Sheridan are operated together and are run in the same way as each other. Standards should be the same between two entities that operate together.

Not only does a student have to get a parking pass, but when a student signs up for fall classes they are expected to pay for those classes within the second week of school. The parking pass for commuting students costs $89 for the entire school year and gives them access to park in the Young Center parking lot or the Jonas parking lot.

Even though BHSU has established the need for a parking pass, BHSU-RC – operated through BHSU – does not. Becky Kindvall – a mass communications major – did not have to pay to park at BHSU-RC, but she was expected to pay for a parking pass when she enrolled in classes on campus in Spearfish. Kindvall took the majority of her general education requirements at BHSU-RC so that she did not have to commute an hour from Rapid City.

She now commutes several days a week to attend core classes in Spearfish and buy a parking pass. Kindvall commutes two hours a day and the money can add up.

The budget of the college may need to be reevaluated for grounds crew so commuters do not have to pay more on top of tuition to attend Spearfish Main Campus. If they choose to keep the parking pass, then they should reduce the cost to $50 per year and apply it to the UCRC as well, as standards should be the same between BHSU and the BHSU-RC.

Should commuting students be charged to park in campus parking lots? The answer is no – commuting students should not be charged to park on campus where parking is always available. They already have to pay for tuition, book, rent, living, and gas expenses. The Spearfish commuting students shouldn’t be punished for trying to further their education through BHSU.