The Oxford Eagle
The University of Mississippi’s student enrollment has shot up in the past 10 years, and the university is having trouble adjusting to this influx.
According to the Ole Miss website, enrollment has increased 59.3 percent in the past decade. For the 2014 and 2015 school year, the average ACT score is 24.3 and overall high school GPA is 3.49. Both of these are the highest in the university’s history.
Ole Miss has started construction on more buildings to house incoming freshman and more parking spaces for students.
The influx has been so quick there is no way construction can finish before the university will need it.
Due to this, some freshmen are forced to live off of campus and most have no places to park their vehicles.
These two problems are not only a dilemma for the freshman, but also the upperclassman at Ole Miss. The parking problem has increased because there is simply not enough spaces for students to park on campus.
The university offers a park and ride option for students living off of campus and some freshman. Students have designated areas off campus to park their vehicles, and buses are provided for the students to take to get on and off of campus.
The freshmen that use the park and ride option have a place off of campus to park their cars while they are not using them during the week. This opens up parking spaces for students who live off campus to park their cars during school hours.
Even with the park and ride system in place, many students living off of campus still have problems finding parking spots during the day.
“It’s hard to find a spot even with the classes that I have in the afternoon,” he said. “I feel like the commuter spots were oversold this year.”
Another benefit that the university provides for students off campus is the OUT bus. The OUT bus is the Oxford University Transit, and it has routes all over Oxford, including the University, Walmart and different off-campus apartments.
“A benefit of the OUT bus is that they can help students save money on gas,” said Travis. “I’ve heard from OUT users that the buses have long routes, which can make getting to class on time a hassle.”
Travis said the influx of students has made it harder for him to get into some classes required for his major, and that can get frustrating. But he is positive about the university adjusting to this change.
“If anything, the growth of students says how much of a great university Ole Miss really is,” Travis said.
“With the amount of people coming in, the University needs to prepare better for it,” Mason said. “The campus is a small campus, and it can’t hold that many people.”
Mason believes the university shouldn’t oversell parking passes. She has to leave one hour before each class to make sure she gets a parking spot.
She also lives off campus at the Hub and has lived there the past two years.
“Because there are more students, there is a larger demand on apartments off campus,” said Mason. “I have seen my own apartment complex rates increase each year due to this.”
Mason is positive the university will fix the parking problems soon, but she hopes it will become easier before she graduates.
“I use my car only once a week,” Braswell said. “But I like having the ability to walk to my car and have access to it.”
She believes the university needs to focus on more parking spaces for commuters and incoming freshman.
“It is not fair to live somewhere and not have access to your car,” Braswell said. “I feel sorry for people who do not have parking passes or have park and ride, because they either have to rely on a bus to take them to their vehicle or rely on their friends, which is not fair to their friends either.”
According to the Ole Miss website, for the 2014-15 school year, a record 2,984 students are enrolled at the UM Medical Center in Jackson, up by 250 students (9.1 percent) over last fall.
Like the campus in Oxford, the Medical Center has problems finding spaces for the students and the employees in the middle of downtown Jackson.
“In Jackson, the main lot is split between faculty, students, hospital patients and visitors,” Pike said. “Finding parking at UMMC is drastically more difficult than any parking dilemma I faced in Oxford.”
Students have to arrive at school at least an hour early for class, and there is still a possibility that the students will be late because there are limited parking spots available.
“The only plus about UMMC parking is that you don’t have to buy a parking decal to not be able to find a parking spot like at Ole Miss,” said Pike.