To the editor:
A recent letter to the editor about the university’s parking lease painted a picture that might have confused readers.
Allow me to share some facts.
Prior to the parking lease, all revenue from the university’s parking system supported campus parking and transportation. Now, we have millions of additional dollars each year to support academics.
Consider the academic priorities that have been funded through endowments created from the parking proceeds:
- More than 270 students, including more than 90 Eminence Fellows who received aid covering their full cost of attendance, received financial aid in the past year. This aid also includes funding for undergraduate research and professional student stipends.
- 125 faculty members have been hired in the Discovery Themes, with another 58 positions in active recruitment. (Colleges provide half of the funding for these positions.)
- $6.4 million in improvements to Sullivant Hall as part of the building’s renovation. Additional funding from this endowment will support upcoming Arts District projects.
The university received $483 million from the parking lease in 2012, all of which was invested alongside Ohio State’s endowment. Those endowments are now worth $564 million because of investment growth — and that is after distributing nearly $129 million to academic priorities and for continued support for the Campus Area Bus Service.
Critics might believe that we could have retained all the costs of operating parking and somehow redistributed the revenue to academics, but that’s just not reality. Actual students and faculty receive support today through the parking lease. We’re not in the parking business. Our mission is to do research and educate students. Both of these endeavors have significantly more support now because of the parking deal.