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August 21, 2019

5 Reasons Not to Have a Car on Campus

The cost of having a car at college may be more than you think.

The cost of having a car at college may be more than you think

Check out the reasons wht having a car at college is expensive


You are doing the final prep to head to college for the fall. You want to be able to quickly get to your internship across town and be able to go to the grocery store 24/7. So, this year you are considering bringing your father’s old Honda Civic to campus. Well, think about these potential costs when you are factoring in whether the convenience and freedom is worth it.

Parking is expensive.

Parking is a major money-making enterprise for colleges. According to Cal State Student Association, the California State University System makes over $75 million in student parking fees annually (and that doesn’t even account for the students who buy daily visitor passes!) Student loan parking permits range from $40 to $2,500 per semester according to Discover. Colleges located in big metropolitan cities tend to have the highest cost per enrollment period. It’s no fun to pay to have your car rest peacefully in a lot to the tune of $8 per day but you may not have an alternative.

Parking tickets add up.

If you forget to post your parking permit, you can get smacked with a fee of $10 to $75 per day. Similar to the cost of the parking permit itself, the parking ticket will depend on your college’s location and its fee policies. But don’t assume that is the college lot is the only location that parking tickets may occur. Lots of college students try to park for free off campus on local streets and parking lots. That is why many towns create limits to the free parking times on streets and parking lots surrounding colleges and universities. In fact, some also may just tow your car away if don’t pay attention to their parking restrictions. The average cost for vehicle recovery by public agency is $100 to $1,000 according to CostHelper. We all think we will remember to move our car to benefit from free parking. But, many of college students slip up and pay a hefty cost.

Car insurance costs more for college students.

Car insurance costs range based on where you reside, how often you drive, what you drive, your driving history, and your age. The bad news is that typically college aged drivers are in the age group considered to be the most dangerous drivers on the roads. This means that insurance policies cost more almost every other age group. CarInsurance.com reports that college students between 18 and 24 years old may pay $684-$1,870 annually for just the lowest coverage allowed by law (actual rates vary by state). Driving without car insurance is not an option, so budgeting for car insurance as a student is a must.

Unexpected maintenance can crush you.

Of course, there is the cost of the regular car maintenance, but most of us face a car repair sooner or later. AAA estimates that the average car repair costs range from $500 to $600. If you procrastinate on regular car maintenance, those repair costs can be even higher. That is why AAA recommends you set aside $50 a month for emergency car repairs. If college students are struggling to have enough money to go to see the latest Marvel movie at the theater and eat out at The Cheesecake Factory with friends, then creating an emergency car repair fund is most likely not on the roadmap.

Gas prices are fluctuating

In 2019, retail cost of gas in the US has ranged from $2.33 to $2.98 according to YCharts. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has reported demand for gasoline hit a new all-time record high. That means prices at the gas pumps can start rising. Your mileage per gallon of gas could be costing you significantly more in the future.

Photograph of Colleen Krumwiede
Colleen Krumwiede
Co-Founder & Chief Revenue Officer

Colleen MacDonald Krumwiede is a financial aid expert with over a decade of financial aid experience at Stanford GSB, Caltech, and Pomona College and another decade at educational finance and technology companies servicing higher education.  She guides go-to-market strategy and product development at Quatro to transform the way families afford college.


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