El Camino College remains undecided on parking permit refunds as other colleges compensate students


An El Camino College parking pass for the spring semester hangs on the rearview mirror of a car on Thursday, April. 30 Officials are still deciding how to proceed with parking permit refunds following the closure of the campus less than halfway through the semester. Rosemary Montalvo/The Union

Several community colleges, including Santa Monica and Cerritos College have created refund policies for parking permits following the indefinite campus closure and transition to online classes due to COVID-19 measures.

El Camino College is still considering several options for the handling of refunds, including parking permits but have not yet came to a decision, ECC Director of Public Information and Government Relations Marc Stevens said.

“This issue is one of many that is being dealt with due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to online instruction,” Stevens told The Union via email. “At this point, a final decision has not been made. However, any refunds issued would not be processed until college personnel are able to return to work on campus.”

Santa Monica College (SMC) closed down its campus Friday, March 13 and made the decision to provide students with refunds on Tuesday, March 17, said Santa Monica College Dean of Education Enterprise Mitch Heskel.

Heskel said that the college felt an obligation to provide refunds for students since they are unable to use the parking permits.

“When we closed down in mid-March, we realized there were certain things students should not be liable for,” Heskel said. “Since we told them that they couldn’t come to campus anymore, we thought it was the right thing to do.”

Heskel added that the college did not want to refund the whole term because students had used the pass to park for about a month. Spring parking permits cost $85 meanwhile SMC is refunding students $20.

SMC is providing refunds only by request. Students can request a refund by emailing [email protected].

Students who paid by credit card will be refunded through their credit card. Students who paid by cash or check will receive a refund by mail.

Tara Delk, a sociology major at ECC, said that she would prefer some kind of refund for the parking permits.

“I do agree that we should be refunded in some way because it doesn’t seem right,” Delk said. “There is no point in paying $35 when we haven’t even gotten through half of a semester yet.”

Los Angeles Southwest College also announced on their website that they would be providing students with refunds in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Students with an application on file for graduation or are transferring students will automatically receive a 50% refund for the parking permit, according to their new policy.

All other students who are returning to the campus for future semesters will be able to use their current parking permits when in person classes resume for the next semester only.

According to Los Angeles Southwest College, all nine colleges are providing this refund policy within the Los Angeles Community College District.

Cerritos College is also providing refunds to students whose courses began after March 30. Students are required to email [email protected] for a refund.

Photo updated Thursday, April 30, at 10:50 p.m.