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Frosh Parking Policy

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Frosh Parking Policy

Stanford undergraduate first-year students (frosh) are not permitted to bring cars to campus for the duration of their first year: Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters. This includes frosh students who have enough credits to be considered sophomores at any time during their first academic year at Stanford. 

Note: New undergraduate transfer students are not subject to this policy and may purchase parking permits, if desired.


Stanford's growth is limited by restrictions contained in our current General Use Permit with Santa Clara County. Limits are imposed on the square footage of new buildings, parking spaces, and traffic (measured by the number of trips to and from campus). In order to be able to build the housing and new academic facilities needed to allow Stanford to continue to thrive as a world-class institution, the University must impose parking restrictions. Inevitably, such a policy has an impact on the life of the campus.

Parking restrictions have been applied to frosh, as they will be least impacted by this policy. In order to help them settle into the Stanford community and familiarize themselves with campus opportunities and resources, all undergraduate students are required to live in residence halls with board plans for their first year. Professional and residential staff closely support frosh by providing a wide array of special activities in their residence halls and elsewhere on campus. Additionally, student jobs are available across campus and frosh can access Handshake to search for listings. 

It is our hope that by restricting cars in the frosh year, students will engage with the campus community in meaningful ways, launch their academic journeys, and develop a sense of belonging at Stanford. Moreover, by taking advantage of the many alternative transportation options available to them, students will think twice about the need to bring their cars in subsequent years. 

Interpretation and enforcement of this policy

Stanford Transportation will not sell parking permits to frosh. Other members of the community who are eligible for a parking permit will not be permitted to purchase one for a frosh or register a vehicle that belongs to a frosh or their family in order for the frosh to circumvent the parking policy. Attempts to do so will result in both parties being reported to the Office of Community Standards and having any future parking privileges revoked.

In addition, we ask that students comply with the spirit of this policy by not bringing cars to campus with the expectation that they can be parked on the streets or public areas of our neighboring communities. Stanford works with its neighbors to reduce traffic flow and parking in nearby off-campus neighborhoods, and students are expected to help Stanford be a good neighbor.

Alternative Transportation Options

We realize that frosh students will want to take advantage of the many activities available off-campus. While no resources can truly match the convenience of a private car, a number of alternative solutions to help frosh get off campus for social, public service, and other discretionary purposes have been created and are outlined below.

To meet the needs of students without cars, the University has developed the following programs to assist students in getting around the local area and going away for the weekend.

Marguerite Shuttle. Stanford operates the Marguerite shuttle system, which can take students around campus and to the Palo Alto Caltrain Station.

Frosh Emergency Ride Program. Frosh students who register for the Freshman Emergency Ride Program are offered a "safety net" for unforeseen travel emergencies. The Frosh Emergency Ride Program is run in partnership with a local cab company. Students who find themselves stranded off-campus without a way back using existing transit alternatives can take a FREE cab ride back to campus for up to 3 rides per year (each ride must be to a campus destination).

Car Sharing at Stanford. Zipcar provides a self-service, on-demand car sharing program at Stanford, available to students ages 18 and up. There are various models, including Toyota Prius hybrids and an SUV. Zipcars are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at convenient campus locations and nationwide. To use a Zipcar, simply register as a member, reserve a car online or by phone, use your Zipcard to enter the car, and drive away. Rates start at $11 per hour and include gas and insurance. Visit the Zipcar at Stanford page for more information or to apply for membership.

On-Campus Car Rentals. Enterprise Rent-A-Car operates a branch on campus that rents to students ages 18 and up. Special student rates are available for hourly, half-day, daily, weekly, and monthly rentals. Visit the Enterprise Rent-A-Car page for more information.

Exceptions - Frosh Parking Waiver

Waiver Application Process

Beginning Winter Quarter, students who can demonstrate a compelling need or who would suffer undue hardship under this policy can apply for a waiver. Waivers will be reviewed quarterly, and will be kept to an absolute minimum. Waiver requests must be approved prior to bringing the vehicle to campus.

To submit a request for a waiver, complete the quarterly online application and submit during the application window. You may be asked for documentation to support the request. 

The committee will assess required documentation and level of hardship. At the close of the application window, requests will be reviewed at the end of each quarter for approval for the upcoming quarter. Decisions will be sent to each applicant by email.

Waiver approvals will be kept to an absolute minimum and are generally granted only for a student's own medical needs if they are registered with the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). Requests are generally not granted for student activities, volunteering, off-campus jobs, etc.

  • Autumn Quarter (medical waiver only): Requests due by September 1. Notifications ~September 10.
  • Winter Quarter: Requests due by Friday of Week 10. Notifications by end of Finals Week.
  • Spring Quarter: Requests due by Friday of Week 10. Notifications by end of Finals Week.

If a waiver is denied: If the waiver request is denied, the student can apply again for the next quarter within the application window.

If a waiver is approved: If a waiver is granted, a permit to park in a peripheral lot may be considered in lieu of the residential parking lot. The student will be able to purchase a permit for one quarter only, and will be required to re-apply for a waiver each quarter during the application window. The student may be required to provide documentation supporting their request.

Medical Waiver

If you have a permanent disability or medical condition that necessitates the use of a vehicle, we suggest you apply for a handicapped placard from your home state or from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. These placards are exempt and do not require display of any other type of permit on campus.

If you have a temporary disability, please register with the Office of Accessible Education (OAE) who will assist in determining your needs, including making a determination about the need for a vehicle on campus for Autumn, Winter, and/or Spring Quarters.

Falsifying Information

Students who obtain a parking permit by providing falsified information, as well as upperclass students who attempt to purchase a permit for a frosh, will have future parking privileges revoked and may face judicial action.