Auburn University starts new share program with URB-E electric scooters.
Today’s college-bound student faces obstacles that no other generation in history may have faced. Tuition costs alone make up the bulk of those issues, with US tuition costs rising by more than 1000% since their grandparents were in school. Textbook costs have also skyrocketed, with an 812% increase over prices in the 1980s, and book prices are currently increasing faster than the tuition and fee increases. Of course, the prices are only coupled with stricter requirements to even get in due to the increasing numbers of students seeking a college degree.
There’s an interesting shift taking place though: colleges are having to “compete” for students by offering premium services. LSU recently made headlines for installing an $85 million lazy river, rock climbing wall, and luxury pool near its 40,000-square-foot cardio and weight training room, all while struggling to avoid filing bankruptcy. And this is only one example of some over-the-top features that colleges are building to “enhance” the student life experience.
Vote with your feet
But there’s a simpler way to win over prospective newcomers: transportation. Parking and driving on college campuses is notoriously difficult, and some institutions have enacted bans on both, especially for freshmen. Smart schools are investing in bike share programs, like that of Auburn University; unlike traditional city bike share programs, Auburn’s bikes do not need to be locked back in an approved bike rack to stop charging the rider, which overcomes the problem of arriving at class to discover all the racks are full.
A new share program in the works at several different universities put URB-E electric scooters in the racks instead of bikes, which overcomes issues like not knowing how to ride, having to carry an item with you that won’t strap to the bike, or not having a helmet with you at all times in order to remain in accordance with helmet ordinances. Even better, the range and speed of the particular models means students could pop over to the dorm or even run an errand off campus, then return the foldable scooter to the charging rack.
Cheap and cheerful
Best of all, the scooter share program transfers the price tag where it belongs: to the students or faculty who use them with either a daily or weekly rental fee, rather than being incorporated as an involuntary fee. LSU’s 30,000-member student body will pay $135 each for the next three years to offset the cost of their fancy pool; some institutions even charge similar renovation fees to online students who will never step foot on the campus.