The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.
After a University of Manchester professor was one of the winners of a Nobel Prize, his employer offered to grant him a wish. He asked for a convenient parking space. A professor at the Nova Scotia-based Dalhousie University resigned from a position he had held for three decades after learning that he'd been unable to secure a parking permit; and students at Normandale Community College in Minnesota arrive at 6 a.m. to ensure they land a parking spot and then sit in their cars studying for two hours until class starts. These are just three stories from a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article.
One reason parking spots might be so scarce is that schools oversell them. Each day, schools count on various parking pass holders to be absent, leaving a few spots open for those without a pass. The many commuters competing for those parking spots often do a lot of circling around the lot, following pedestrians who might be returning to their cars, in the hope of getting a space.
[Read about how hidden costs, like parking and car registration, can add up.]
Some schools help keep parking under control by prohibiting students from having cars on campus. Of the 1,376 ranked colleges and universities that U.S. News surveyed in 2011, all students were permitted to have cars at 1,074 schools; 272 did not allow every student to have a car on campus; and the remaining 30 institutions did not provide data on whether all students were allowed to have cars.
Of the 168 National Universities that reported data, 43 did not allow cars on campus. Arizona State University, which has a student population of 70,440, has the most cars on campus. At ASU, 60 percent of students have cars, which means there are about 42,264 cars on campus. The next largest number of cars is at Texas A&M University—College Station, where 85 percent of the student population of 56,064 has cars on campus—roughly 41,760 cars.
[Learn how one student paid a $10 parking ticket in pennies.]
The list of schools with the highest percentages of students with cars on campus is actually a top 16 list, rather than 10, due to ties. Just two of the top 16 are private schools: Spalding University in Louisville, Ky., and Pennsylvania's Immaculata University.
Indiana University-Purdue University—Indianapolis topped the list with 99 percent of its 30,566 students having cars on campus. Wayne State University was a close second, with 98 percent of its 31,505 students keeping cars on campus. The National Universities in this top 16 list with the highest rank in the 2012 Best Colleges rankings were University of California—Riverside (No. 97), University of South Carolina (111), and Mississippi State University (No. 157).
Schools that were designated by U.S. News as Unranked were not considered for this report. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.
The data does not take into consideration students who live off campus. Below are the schools where the highest percentage of students have cars on campus:
|National university (state)||Total student enrollment||Percentage of students with cars||U.S. News rank|
|Indiana University-Purdue University—Indianapolis||30,566||99%||RNP*|
|Wayne State University (MI)||31,505||98%||RNP|
|Mississippi State University||19,644||95%||157|
|Spalding University (KY)||2,346||95%||RNP|
|University of Missouri—Kansas City||15,277||94%||181|
|University of South Dakota||10,151||94%||194|
|University of Alabama—Huntsville||7,614||92%||190|
|University of Memphis||22,421||91%||RNP|
|Immaculata University (PA)||4,456||90%||194|
|Louisiana Tech University||11,743||90%||194|
|Oakland University (MI)||19,053||90%||RNP|
|University of Arkansas—Little Rock||13,176||90%||RNP|
|University of California—Riverside||20,746||90%||97|
|University of Nevada—Las Vegas||28,222||90%||RNP|
|University of North Dakota||14,194||90%||164|
|University of South Carolina||29,597||90%||111|
Access the U.S. News College Compass to find complete rankings and much more.
*RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one fourth of its rankings category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.
U.S. News surveyed more than 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2011 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists have no influence over U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools.