5 College Commuting Tips


Although college dorms are filled with students who live on campus and don’t necessarily need or own a car, for many students commuting from home is the way that get to and from school.

Commuting to college can get be expensive — auto insurance, maintenance costs, car payments and fees paid to the state and for campus parking can add up. Still, it may prove cheaper for some students to live off campus and make the regular commute to school.

If finances are an issue for you, the following tips can help you save money on your college commuting:

1. Park off campus — Some schools forbid freshmen students from parking on campus, reserving that right to upper class students and/or to those with a proven academic record. That makes things hard for freshmen who need to have a car to get back and forth to school. Solution: post an ad on Craigslist asking to rent a spot at nearby residence or business for those times you’re on campus.

2. Register for parking — If your school has no restrictions on who can drive to college, you may still find that parking is limited. As soon as possible, apply for a parking permit at your school’s information center or online. Some urban schools offer parking on a space available basis.

3. Consider mass transportation — Urban centers are tight for parking, but they have one advantage many other parts of the country do not have — public transportation. Whether by train, bus or taxi cab, you may be able to score a big discount on rides by purchasing a monthly pass or asking for a student rate.

4. Go carpool — You may be able to find someone in your area who has a similar class schedule as your own. If so, consider carpooling in a bid to split your costs. Your auto insurer may also give you a break if you explain that you’ll be ride-sharing and, therefore, driving less.

5. Ride a bike — If you’re within a few miles of campus and the route from your home to college is safe to ride, consider pedaling your way back and forth to school. Many schools offer bike racks near main buildings; your only requirement is to bring along a lock to make sure that your bike isn’t stolen. Do you have a motorcycle? You may be able to score a better parking spot by riding your motorbike to college too.

Lastly, if you do park on campus make sure that your car is locked and left in an area that is well-lit and policed. Female students should seek an escort if heading out to a remote parking lot after dark.


Duke University: How Much Can Carpooling Save? (calculator)

Spelman College: Commuter Student Services


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Categories: Personal Advice