Canterbury University is being threatened with legal action by one of its law students over car parking.
Canterbury University student Kelly Phillips has accused the university of cashing in on staff and students' parking fees.
Students are currently paying $400 a year for parking, while staff are paying double the amount.
"It just means you've paid for a spot, but you're not guaranteed you're going to get it," Ms Phillips said.
While the parking is fluid, the fees are set - and rising - by 15 per cent a year.
Canterbury University is unique from most universities in that it has the space on its 80-hectare Ilam campus to provide parking, but it comes at a cost.
"If you have to borrow an additional $500 a year to pay for parking, you are going into debt over this," Ms Phillips said.
She claims the university has collected more than $1.3 million in parking fees from students and staff last year alone.
"Where is the money going? What is it being used for or is it just revenue gathering?"
But Canterbury University Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr claims the university "is not seeking to make money out of car parking".
"It is seeking simply to cover the full whole of life cost of providing carparking on campus," Mr Carr explained.
He says the parking fees are going towards tar sealing, drainage, potholes, lighting and security at the university.
However, Ms Phillips says it "doesn't add up".
She claims that when she asked under the Official Information Act for a breakdown of parking-related expenditure, it could not be provided.
"The Local Government Act basically says that where an entity has the ability to charge a fee for service, it cannot exceed the cost of actually providing that service," she said.
Mr Carr responded, "If you've got the opportunity as a law student to get a learning experience at the taxpayer's expense, you should probably seek that out".
Ms Phillips has since engaged a barrister to help find out where staff and students' parking fees are going.