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Friday, September 22, 2023

A parking ticket forgiveness day is in the works within UF Student Government, but UF Parking and Transportation Services isn’t in on the plans. 

Student Body President Trevor Pope announced the Spring forgiveness program in his State of the Campus Address Oct. 27. He also announced a cap and gown scholarship for students this Fall 2020 graduation.

“The parking ticket forgiveness day is obviously in its early phases, seeing that it's months away,” Pope wrote in an email. “We expect progress to be made in the Spring.”

Transportation and Parking Services director Scott Fox wrote in a text message that the department hasn’t been consulted yet.

“TAPS has no knowledge of this concept and no plans to implement any such program,” he wrote.

Pope declined to respond to Fox’s comment.

“I’ve already made comments with respect to the Parking Ticket Forgiveness day,” he wrote in an email.

In Spring 2018, TAPS offered a ticket amnesty program where parking tickets would be forgiven in exchange for a donation to the UF Food and Fork Pantry, an on campus food pantry for students and employees.

Also at the State of the University speech, Pope announced that Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars, low-income, first generation scholarship students, graduating this semester will receive free caps and gowns from UF Student Government. 

The scholarship applies to the 47 UF Machen Scholars who are graduating with their bachelor’s this semester, said Erica Aguiar, assistant director of the scholarship. 

“This is just a good way to make sure they're covered, not just for the actual ‘100%, I need this,’ but also for the things that are so important to the UF experience,” Aguiar said.

The Machen Scholarship is offered to first-generation undergraduate students with less than $40,000 of annual family income and less than $25,000 in assets. Aguiar said that Machen seniors often can’t afford to participate in graduation along with paying for college and home costs.

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“I can't tell you how many students have said, ‘Well, I’ve lost my job’ or ‘I'm helping my family pay the rent and also paying my rent in Gainesville,’” she said.

UF SG will pay for the regalia with money from the student fees budget’s special projects section, which was allocated $179,698, Pope wrote.

“The program is not only intended to celebrate the academic accomplishments of our students but it also increases resources going towards students with financial insecurities,” Pope wrote in an email.

UF Bachelor’s regalia cost about $49 plus tax, according to the UF Bookstore. 

“Depending on the success of the program, we intend on expanding it to more students in the Spring of 2021,” Pope said.

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Lianna Hubbard

Lianna Hubbard is a reporter for The Alligator’s Investigative Team. The UF women’s study major began as a freelance reporter three years ago. She founded her community college’s award-winning newspaper before beginning at The Independent Florida Alligator. See an issue in your community or a story at UF? Send tips to her Twitter.

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