Paid parking for parents of graduating seniors a ‘worry’ for some

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The Class of 2016 has less than one month left until graduation, which means out-of-town parents need to make arrangements for attending the Commencement Ceremony at the Prudential Center on Monday, May 16.

According to an email sent to students by the Office of the Provost, Seton Hall is providing bus transportation to seniors who need it. The bus will leave SHU at 7:45 a.m. and leave the Prudential Center after the ceremony at 11:30 a.m.

Bernadette McVey, Executive Academic Assistant to the Provost and Executive Vice President of the Office of Provost, did not specify how many seats on the bus are available this year. However, she said in an email that last year SHU rented 5 buses, each making one round trip. The buses last year were able to accommodate all students and faculty who needed transportation.

“We have unlimited seats at the Prudential Center and it would be just too many people if we include family members,” McVey said.

Shanon Maglente, a senior English major, said that while her sister graduated from Seton Hall three years ago, the ceremony was held at the IZOD Center, so this Commencement will be a change for her family.

“Parking wasn’t a problem (at the IZOD Center) because it was free, but now we’re worried because we heard that you have to pay for parking at the Prudential Center,” Maglente said.

According to, provider of parking rates for decks near the Prudential Center during the time of the Commencement Ceremony, families like Maglente’s who will drive to the ceremony could potentially spend up to $45 on local parking alone.

McVey said since the lots are privately owned, there will not be free parking for SHU families.

While there are three parking decks within 1,000 feet of the Prudential Center, and many more outside of that parameter, the NJPAC parking lot, located 0.5 miles away from the Prudential Center, has already sold out for the morning of the ceremony.

Parking is not the only struggle families face on their senior’s special day.

Parents coming from a long distance must find a place to stay the night before the early morning ceremony.

Yusuf Eraslan, a senior nursing major, said that his parents planned to drive from Atlantic City to South Orange the night before graduation and stay at his off-campus house.

“We’re probably going to start heading from here (Seton Hall) and follow everyone else,” Eraslan said of his plan to get to the Prudential Center on time. This option will save his family the cost of booking a hotel room for the night before, a convenient but expensive option.

Of the list of 16 hotels in Newark on, two of the hotels are within 0.1 miles of the
Prudential Center – the Courtyard Newark Downtown, charging $178 per night for two adults, and the Hotel Indigo Newark Downtown charging $131 per night for two adults. Families can also look into Airbnb locations as a cheaper alternative to hotel rooms.

Brianna Bernath can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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