When most students receive a parking ticket on campus, they must pay a fine with money out of their own pocket. But for students receiving financial aid, that is not usually the case; their financial aid picks up the tab.
According to the Financial Aid Handbook, the average student receiving assistance gets $2,552 a semester to pay tuition and related fees. Any money remaining is automatically used to pay the student’s outstanding fines, including parking tickets.
Financial aid will pay all charges on a student’s account prior to returning any unused money to the student, confirmed Devon Wiggins, Director of Student Financial Aid at TJC.
She said that being on financial aid does not exempt the student from the responsibility of paying a ticket. Students who use all of their financial aid and then get a ticket must pay it themselves.
“I have used financial aid to clear my tickets,” said sophomore Jessica Vega.
Director of Campus Safety Randy Melton said that the cost of a parking ticket ranges from $25 to $50. He said most tickets are issued to students who park in faculty lots.
The fine is meant to deter students from parking in restricted areas.
“With students on financial aid, they might not feel the pain (of having to pay a parking ticket) as much as a person paying their individual tuition fees,” Melton said.
Students who do not have the ability to use financial aid to pay parking tickets and then let the fines go unpaid will soon find themselves in trouble.
“After about four parking tickets that have not been paid, we will put a tow sticker on the student’s car and will revoke their parking privileges until fees are paid,” Melton said.
“I don’t find it fair for them to tow our cars away when they (Campus Safety officers) know that we are crowded here and we are in need for a larger parking lot,” sophomore Natalia Medina said.
Vega said she also did not know that cam- pus security could tow your car away after the fourth ticket.
Students who have unpaid fines are forced to pay up before being allowed to enroll for classes again. Students on financial aid will have the charges deducted from their financial aid before the available money is applied to tuition for the new semester.
All parking tickets and other fines also have to be paid before a student is allowed to graduate from TJC or complete the process of transferring to another college
“You need to pay our fees because it (your obligation to pay) doesn’t go away,” Melton said.