Having a Car at College: Is It Worth It?

As the summer comes to a close and a new school year begins, many nervous teenagers will begin a new chapter in their life and head to college. They will experience independence, academic challenges and a major lifestyle change over the course of the next four to six years. One question that’s prominent in this transition is: Will I have my car? For many, bringing their car to college seems like a no-brainer, but others may not have even considered the option. For help on deciding what to do if you or your college student is in this situation, here are some factors to keep in mind before sending them off with or without their car.

having a car at college


The cost of having a car is pricey, but at college it can be even pricier. Typically the parking cost at a university campus equates to hundreds of dollars each semester, and availability of spaces can be limited. The cheaper lots fill up quickly, requiring students to pay more for the expensive lots that are left. If students live on campus, it is likely there are other transportation options like riding a bike or taking the bus. By doing this, not only will they save on gas money, but they won’t have to deal with high parking costs either. If they live far from campus or aren’t on the meal plan, the cost of a pass may be worth it if they are spending all day on campus and going to the grocery store every other week. Research the university parking passes, locations of lots and gas costs before deciding whether or not a car would be worth bringing.

Distance from Necessities

A big part of students deciding to bring their cars to college has to do with their distance from campus, their need to go off campus for shopping and extracurricular activities or traveling home. As mentioned before, if the student’s apartment is far from campus and the distance to vital stores like the grocery are far, a car can be a very valuable asset to have. However, cities often offer public transportation that go to various grocery stores, main roads and, most importantly, through college campuses. In some cases, apartment complexes even have their own busing system! Looking into the benefits of apartments and what the college town has to offer is imperative, especially if the student’s campus is far from other places they need to be able to get to.

Questions to Ask Yourself/ Your College Student

Before a final decision is made, ask yourself or your college student some questions to really make sure you’re making the right decision.

  • Is bringing my car on campus even an option? Some colleges don’t allow freshmen to have cars, or in rare cases, don’t allow anyone but seniors to have cars due to a low volume of parking spaces. Make sure you or your student are able to purchase a parking pass before you make any impulsive decisions.
  • Will it be used? Referencing the factors above and keeping in mind their daily routine, really think about the use your kid would get out of having a car at college. Consider the prices of having a car, locations of important places and distance to campus.
  • Are there alternatives? Instead of using a car, find out if there is the option to walk, ride a bike or take a university/city bus.

Get an Extended Warranty

Whether your college student ends up taking a car to college or not, it’s always important to have coverage. Be prepared for the road ahead by getting an extended warranty. Knowing your car’s finances are secured will give you the peace of mind you need and deserve. Get a free quote today and always remember to keep your vehicle safe with Warranty Direct.

There are definitely pros and cons to having a car in college, but in the end it depends on personal circumstances. It’s useful to have a car if your teenager lives off-campus, has activities to attend that aren’t in walking distance or needs to go to the store, but they end up spending more money, spending more time off-campus and may be pressured into giving people rides. Not having a car can be inconvenient and may make them feel stuck, but there may be alternatives to be utilized, they can experience the beauty of the campus by walking around more and money is saved. Take these factors and questions into consideration when deciding if owning a car in college is right for you or your child.

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