Parking Policy

In accordance with Washington, DC regulations and the University’s “Good Neighbor Policy,” all members of the University community – including students, faculty, staff, visitors and guests – are required to do one of the following while attending class, working, or visiting AU owned property

  1. Park on campus and obtain a parking permit,
  2. Purchase hourly/daily parking using the Pay-As-You-Go machines, or
  3. Use public transportation.

Compliance with the Good Neighbor Policy is a condition of enrollment and/or employment at American University. Fines for 1st violation are $200 and $250 for subsequent violations. AU Community members with Zone 3 residential parking permits are not exempt from this policy.

AU Parking Policy

Policy Category: Operational Policy

Subject: Parking on University Property

Office Responsible for Review of this Policy: Office of Parking and Traffic Services

Procedures Addendum: Citation Fines

Related University Policies: Good Neighbor Policy



This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, contractors, and guests of American University, henceforth referred to collectively as the University Community, who drive and park vehicles on American University property. No vehicles parking on American University property are exempt from the parking policy (all 50 states, foreign countries, State Department issued license plates, government vehicles). American University assumes no liability or responsibility for damage to or theft of any vehicle parked in or on University property.



The purpose of this document is to stipulate the parking requirements, regulations, and enforcement measures applied to the University Community. In accordance with the University’s “Good Neighbor Policy” parking is restricted in the areas surrounding all American University owned buildings.

The Office of Parking and Traffic Services reserves the right to modify parking rules or regulations as needed, to change the allocation of parking spaces when necessary, and to make exceptions if appropriate. The Office of Parking and Traffic Services may, on occasion, need to close a parking area or roadway for a special event, safety reasons, or repair. The campus community will be informed when changes occur with as much notice as possible.



Parking at the University is by permit or payment only every weekday between the hours of 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. Pay-As-You-Go parking is available in hourly or daily increments using the pay stations in the School of in International Service (SIS) and Katzen Arts Center garages. Weekly, monthly, and semester long parking options are available for purchase in the Office of Parking and Traffic Services. Loading permits, temporary permits, contractor permits, or permits for medical exceptions are also distributed by the Parking Office. Some provisions of the Parking Policy, as noted, are applicable only to the Washington College of Law.

Parking permits are issued to individuals and their respective vehicles and may not be transferred to any other individual or vehicle without the expressed consent of Office of Parking and Traffic Services. If a permit is found to be displayed in a vehicle other than the vehicle to which the permit was issued, that vehicle is subject to a citation for falsification. See Enforcement for further information.

Faculty and staff may purchase a faculty/staff parking permit. Students may purchase a student parking permit. If an individual is both a student and faculty/staff member, their full-time status determines which permit they may purchase. If an individual is part-time student as well as part-time staff, or both a full-time student and full-time staff, the individual must purchase a staff permit. With the exception of resident students with valid permits, no vehicle should be left for more than 36 hours without the permission.

A copy of the University’s current fee schedule for parking permits is available on the Parking and Traffic Services website: The University reserves the right to adjust parking rates as needed.

When parked, a vehicle must always be within the perpendicular white lines marking the parking space. A vehicle may only occupy a single parking space. Vehicles may not be double-parked in such a way as to prevent other vehicles from entering/exiting a parking space or loading zone.

General parking permits are not valid in the following parking lots:

  • Reserved University guest spaces, Zipcar spaces or taxi stands;
  • The President’s office building parking lot and Provost parking spaces;
  • University designated parking such as service vehicle spaces, loading dock areas, ADA spaces, or University Police spaces;
  • Off-campus parking facilities such as the New Mexico Avenue building lot, the Brandywine building garage, 4600 Wisconsin, and 4620 Wisconsin. Access to these lots is restricted to each respective building’s staff and is subject to availability.
    • An individual is required to have both a Faculty/Staff permit and the building manager’s and/or Office of Parking and Traffic Services’ approval to receive parking in an off-campus building garage.

Parking at Washington College of Law Campus :

  • WCL Facilities office administers permits for the WCL campus and works in conjunction with the Office of Parking & Traffic Services. Restrictions and operating hours may differ from other university properties. Please visit for details.
  • All WCL students, faculty, and staff must purchase their permit directly from WCL. Such permits are also valid in all AU general parking locations.
  • First year law students may be restricted from parking in the WCL garage. However they may purchase a permit from WCL which allows them to park in the general parking area on the main campus. There may also be other designated times the permits will be valid in the WCL Garage.
  • AU Faculty/staff parking permits are valid in the WCL garage if the faculty/staff member is parking in that garage on official business at WCL.
  • WCL adjunct faculty permits are valid in all AU general parking locations.



Students may purchase parking permits on a semester basis. The permit allows eligible students to park at all times during the week in any general parking lot. Students may have only one vehicle on campus, and shall only be issued one parking permit. If a student replaces their vehicle with another vehicle during the academic year or summer session, the student must cancel the original permit and acquire a permit for the new vehicle according to the regulations stipulated in this policy. Permits are available to students with the following conditions and restrictions:

  • Freshman resident students and Washington Semester students are not permitted to have cars on University property or in the neighborhood surrounding any University property. Exceptions may be granted with written permission of the Dean of the respective program.
  • Commuter student permits are available for the duration of the academic year only. Commuter students taking classes during the summer semester must purchase a summer semester parking permit, available at the posted summer parking rate.
  • Summer resident students may purchase a parking permit for the closest facility, depending upon availability.
  • Parking summer interns is limited, available on a first-come-first-serve basis through the Office of Parking and Traffic Services and/or the AU Parking Portal.



Faculty and staff may pay for their parking permit via payroll deductions or up-front in the Office of Parking and Traffic Services. All new enrollees in payroll deductions are pre-tax. Part time faculty and staff are not eligible for payroll deductions. A full-time faculty or staff member is under no obligation to purchase a full year of parking.

Adjunct faculty and University chaplains are eligible to receive a complimentary parking permit valid in all general parking areas. Verification of an applicant’s adjunct status is required prior to permit issuance. Adjunct permits are issued by academic semester. Adjuncts are considered part-time. If an Adjunct professor is also either a full-time staff or full-time student, that adjunct must purchase the appropriate full-time permit.

Emeriti faculty are eligible for an emeritus parking permit free of charge. Verification of an applicant’s emeritus status is required prior to permit issuance. Emeritus permits have no expiration date, but will be subject to periodic permit changes.



Contracted Service Providers (CSPs) may include, but not be limited to, athletic officials, contracted media, non-staff coaches, and health center physicians. CSPs, or their sponsoring department, are required to purchase a parking permit unless they are in a clearly labeled vehicle. Permits are sold to the particular department which hires such auxiliary staff members at the appropriate parking permit rate. If the CSP is parking on a regular basis throughout the month, the department must purchase a parking permit at the appropriate faculty/staff rate. CSPs and vendors may purchase permits in bulk and distribute them to their employees, or individual employees of these companies may purchase their permits directly from the Office of Parking and Traffic Services in any monthly increments. Advance and bulk purchases must be made through GL account transfers or invoice/check purchases. Individuals may purchase permits using cash, personal check, money order, cashier’s check, Visa, Master Card, or Discover/NOVUS.

Loading permits can be requested from the Office of Parking and Traffic Services office. The standard loading permit is valid for one day only, and restricted to 20 minutes of loading time. Loading permits are not required during designated move-in and move-out periods. Loading permits may be requested for University employees by the employee’s supervisor. These permits may be issued for up-to one calendar year or three academic semesters. Supervisor approval is required before any replacement loading permits may be issued; an expired loading permit does not constitute an authorized request for a new loading permit. Clearly labeled vendor vehicle such as a UPS, Coca-Cola, or Aramark trucks are not required to display a loading permit in the course of their work on campus.

Service parking permits are required to park in University designated service vehicle spaces. Designated AU service vehicles do not require a permit to park in AU designated service vehicle spaces. Clearly labeled vendor’s and contractor’s vehicles also do not require a permit to park in service vehicle spaces or loading areas.



Occasional parking permits are available for commuter students, faculty and staff. Occasional parking permits accommodate commuters that drive to campus on an infrequent basis, less than five days a week. AU community members can purchase up to 15 single-use, scratch-off hangtag permits per month, but are limited to one purchase per month. The Office of Parking and Traffic Services will security punch the year for which the occasional parking permits are valid. Permits expire at the end of the calendar year and are valid in all general parking spaces for the date scratched (day and month) only. Permits are not transferable and are nonrefundable. Commuters should only purchase permits that they will use within the calendar year.

Please contact the WCL Parking Office for information on their Occasional or Car Pool Parking Permits.

Car pool permits are available for interested full-time faculty/staff. These permits are valid for a minimum of two and maximum of four vehicles, and may be signed up for by a minimum of two and a maximum of four full-time faculty/staff members. Enrollment in a car pool requires up-front payment for parking. Members of a car pool may only register one vehicle per person. If a car pool member drives to campus using a vehicle other than the vehicle they have registered in the car pool, the individual must park and pay using the Pay-As-You-Go machines in the Katzen Arts Center Garage or the School of International Service Garage. To cancel—or make any adjustments to—a car pool permit, the permit must be returned to Office of Parking and Traffic Services.



Special status parking permits are available for all individuals who are not specifically mentioned in the preceding policy. These permits are available according to the following categories and conditions. Additionally, departments may choose to issue guest permits to the following categories (see University Guest Parking section for further information). Payment may be submitted by individuals at Office of Parking and Traffic Services or Pay-As-You-Go machines, or by GL account transfer made by the sponsoring department. Parking permits for special status individuals are sold at the prevailing parking permit rate. This applies to the following:

  • Volunteers, interns, and externs;
  • Institute and program participants;
  • AU Community Members, including but not limited to, Jacobs Fitness Center members who are not otherwise affiliated with AU and special program participants such as National Capital swimmers, may purchase parking permits for the Sports Center Garage.



ADA parking permits, either state-issued or AU-issued, are required at all times to park in all AU ADA spaces. ADA permits may be issued by American University upon receipt of a letter from the requestor’s doctor’s office requesting an ADA parking permit. For faculty and staff, these letters must be directed towards Employee Relations. For students, these letters must be directed to Disability Support Services. Employee Relations or Disability Support Services will determine what parking accommodations are to be made, and communicate these accommodations to Office of Parking and Traffic Services.

Temporary ADA parking permits may be requested by anyone requiring a temporary ADA permit. Individuals can be issued an AU ADA permit, or any other permit which meets their medical/physical needs, for up-to three days at a rate of $16/day or in addition to a valid AU permit. After three days, medical documentation from the requestor’s medical provider must be provided to Employee Relations or Student Support Services, as appropriate, to receive any additional amount of time of ADA parking.



Complimentary parking permits can be requested from the Office of Parking and Traffic Services by University departments for distribution to department guests. For the purposes of this policy, a department guest is an individual whose participation with - and subsequent parking at - AU is specifically requested by a department for the purposes of contributing to the academic and/or institutional mission of the department without compensation.

  • Requests must be submitted in writing via email to with a minimum of 48 hours’ notice.
  • Once a request has been processed, the requestor will be notified via email. Requestors may contact the Office of Parking and Traffic Services by phone to check on the status of a request or provide additional clarification or information.
  • Department guest permits will be issued as red, “Valid One Day Only” hangtags or electronically as an Office of Parking and Traffic approved PDF document.
    • These permits are valid only in the areas specified on the permit.
    • To be valid, these permits must have the current date/date of use clearly printed.
    • To be valid, these permits require an Office of Parking and Traffic Services approval or security punch.
    • Only Office of Parking and Traffic Services can issue a Guest Permit.



All motorcycles and scooters parking at the WCL garage are required to have a virtual parking permit. Permits may be either purchase from the Pay-As-You-Go stations located in the parking garage elevator lobbies or through the AU Parking Portal. Motorcycles and scooters must be parked within designated zones in the garage as indicated by signage and within stripes painted on the ground. Motorcycles and scooters may not park in bicycle parking areas or on sidewalks.

Scooters are classified as vehicles with two wheels with a piston displacement between 50 to 250cc’s. Furthermore, a Scooter is defined by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, §571.123, as a motorcycle that:

  • Has a platform for the operator’s feet or has integrated footrests,
  • Has step-through architecture, meaning that the part of the vehicle forward of the operator’s seat and between the legs of an operator seated in the riding position, is lower in height than the operator’s seat.

Bicycles parked on campus must comply with the following regulations:

  • When driven on streets or in areas intended for use by motor vehicles, bicycle riders will observe all applicable traffic rules and regulations applicable to motor vehicles.
  • When parked, bicycles must be in bicycle racks or other spaces/areas designated for their use. Bicycles must be parked clear of sidewalks, ramps, building entrances and handrails/fences.
  • AU reserves the right to remove abandoned bicycles at its discretion.



In order to enforce the above regulations and conditions, the Office of Parking and Traffic Services is authorized to issue citations, immobilize vehicles, pursue collections, or tow - at the owner's expense - any vehicle that is in violation of the established rules and regulations. In addition, the Office of Parking and Traffic Services may relocate a vehicle if necessary if there is no response to a request to move it.

Equipment utilized in parking and traffic regulation and enforcement is University property. Vandalizing or destroying Pay-As-You-Go machines, vehicle immobilization devices, signs and markings, and/or citations is strictly prohibited.

Citations are issued to vehicles, not vehicle operators. Citations issued to vehicles remain a valid and binding fine, regardless of the vehicle operator. The registered owner of a vehicle is considered fully responsible for all citations issued to their vehicle, regardless of the vehicle operator at the time of citation issuance. Fines accrued by violating the parking policy constitute a lasting financial obligation to the University by the violator until such time as the citations are paid. The first time a vehicle receives a Category B or C citation, it will be issued as a warning. Fines for the second and third citations are charged in a tiered manner. To see the fine pay-scale, see the Addendum on Citation Fines. A citation which has not been paid or appealed is considered an “open” citation. A penalty is applied to all citations which are not paid or appealed within 30 calendar days. The penalty is equal to the original fine, which results in tickets doubling after 30 days.

Additionally, according to the DC Government Zoning Order that authorizes and governs AU’s Campus Plan:

AU shall continue its Good Neighbor Policy of enforcing the requirement that students, faculty, staff, and vendors of AU and Washington College of Law (WCL) will not park off campus on neighborhood streets. AU will adopt higher fines for repeat offenders, and WCL members are now subject to “administrative penalties, up to and including Honor Code violations and/or disciplinary action” for failure to abide by AU’s “good neighbor” program. Additionally, AU will prohibit registration, receipt of grades, and graduation for any student with any outstanding unpaid or uncontested violations. Effective with the opening of the Washington College of Law-Tenley Campus upon a third parking violation and any subsequent violations within a 12-month period of time, AU shall issue an “Admonition,” as defined in the Honor Code, subject to the students’ rights to due process. AU will amend its parking policy to specify that Admonitions will be issued upon proven third or further parking violations, and that students with multiple parking violations may be subject to any further sanctions permitted by the Honor Code that the Honor Code Committee may decide to impose. AU will also amend its parking policy to make clear that students are expected to obey District of Columbia parking regulations as well as AU regulations.



Vehicles with three (3) or more open citations past 30 calendar days are subject to vehicle immobilization via the application of a vehicle immobilization device: a “boot.” American University assumes no liability during the application or removal of the boot. Once a vehicle is immobilized, the boot will only be removed after all open citations have been paid.

Vehicles issued any of the following citations may be subject to immobilization, and individuals found to have caused, committed, or benefited from the below infractions may be subject to University Police investigation, and referral to Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Services, Employee Relations, or the Office of the Provost as appropriate:

  • Displaying, Manufacturing or Possessing a Stolen or Fraudulent Permit,
  • Providing false vehicle registration information,
  • More than one vehicle per registrant on campus at the same time,
  • Obscuring or removing license plate.

After a vehicle remains booted in excess of 30 calendar days without the vehicle owner contacting the Office of Parking and Traffic Services, the vehicle is considered abandoned and subject to the following:

  • The vehicle may be investigated and/or ticketed by the Metropolitan Police Department.
  • The vehicle may be towed and impounded by the Metropolitan Police Department.
  • The vehicle may be towed by a contractor at the University’s discretion.
    • The University assumes no liability for impoundment or impounded vehicles.
    • At the time of impoundment, the vehicle owner is responsible for payment of all impoundment, storage, and disposal fees assessed by the towing company.
    • Once impounded by a private contractor, the vehicle owner has 30 days to pay the contractor before the vehicle is disposed of by the contractor.



Fines can be paid at the Office of Parking and Traffic Services office between the hours of 8:00 AM and 5:30 PM Monday through Thursday, and 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM on Friday. Payment may be made with cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, money order, or certified check. Personal checks will not be accepted as payment for booted vehicles. Payment may be submitted via mail by mailing a check or money order made payable to American University and indicating the individual’s name, citation number and/or vehicle license plate. Payment may be submitted via phone by dialing (202)885-3111 during normal business hours or online by visiting Additional processing fees may apply for online payments. Payment by check may be submitted in the Office of Parking and Traffic Services office or by mail. Checks and money orders should be made payable to American University and mailed to:

American University
Office of Parking and Traffic Services
Lower Level Letts Hall, Suite 1
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20016-8074

When the Office of Parking and Traffic Services office is closed, immobilized vehicles with prior authorized clearance can be released by University Police officers, provided that proof of payment in full is supplied to the Officer in charge (OIC) or dispatcher on duty.

If a check is returned by the bank for insufficient funds, the payment will be reversed and an additional fee will be assessed. AU reserves the right to immobilize the vehicle until payment is rendered in full.



Citations remaining open in excess of 60 calendar days are subject to referral to a collections agency. These notices are sent to the vehicle’s registered owner as reported by the applicable state’s department of motor vehicles.

Students with unpaid tickets in excess of 90 days are liable to have a hold placed on their student account. Failure to comply with collections notices may result in the initiation of legal action against the violator.



If an individual believes a citation was issued unfairly or in error, or believes there to be mitigating circumstances such as a medical emergency, the citation may be appealed. Appeals for American University parking tickets must be made within 30 calendar days from the date the ticket is issued. All individuals interested in appealing a citation should submit an online appeal in writing through the Office of Parking and Traffic Services Website or by following the direct link to the AU Parking Portal: The Appeals Board will not contact an appellant for additional information and will rule based solely on the information available. Appellants are encouraged to provide supporting documentation as attachments when filing their online appeal. The Appeals process is an administrative process; an in-person hearing will not be conducted. The Appeals Board is comprised of impartial members of the AU community who volunteer their time and are not affiliated with the Office of Parking and Traffic Services. Appellants will be notified by email of the Appeals Board’s decision. These rulings are final and binding.



Last Reviewed May 2009; October 2010; August 2014; February 2015; March 2016