Tips for Parents
9 Reasons to Leave Your Car at Home During College
1. Parking isn’t available
2. Having a car is expensive
Besides the extra expense of parking, AAA estimates that you’d save nearly $5,000 by leaving your car at home. You won’t have to pay for gas, standard maintenance, insurance, or other miscellaneous expenses, such as traffic tickets. Some insurance companies even offer an added discount if your student leaves their car at home. Check with your insurance provider for details. Liberty Mutual offers a “Student Away at School Discount,” for teens that reside at a school more than 100 miles from your home and only occasionally drive your vehicle.
3. Zipcar makes car sharing easy
There are so many easy and convenient alternatives to car ownership. If a student needs to use a car to run errands, Zipcar is a great option. Available at more than 600 campuses, Zipcar’s membership enables students to rent cars whenever they need. Join Zipcar for only $15 a year. Grab a Zipcar near campus. Cars by the hour or day. Gas and insurance included. Join at www.zipcar.com/universities
4. Use Public Transportation
Many colleges provide students with a free or deeply discounted public transportation pass. According to Learn.org, “college students who live on or near campus are uniquely positioned to enjoy the benefits of public transportation, given the centralized locale in which most of their activities occur.” Click here to read, “How Public Transportation Can Save Students Time and Money.”
5. Availability of Other Transportation Options
Besides using Zipcar or public transportation, there are many other transportation options, such as Uber, Lyft or Amtrak. Uber and Lyft are available on many campuses, and allow students to request and pay for a ride via their smartphone app. Amtrak offers a college student discount program. Students ages 13 – 25 with a valid student ID are eligible for 15% off the lowest Value or Flexible Fare when they book travel at least 3 days in advance of their trip.
6. Freshmen aren’t allowed to have cars on campus
Because of the congestion on most college campuses and the lack of parking, many schools do not allow freshmen to bring their car to campus. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) provides a list of 56 institutions that have first year student car bans. Check with your school’s Parking and Transportation Office to find out if cars are allowed on your campus.
7. Most students won’t have a car
According to US News, about 49 percent of students bring and keep cars at school. Since most students, especially freshmen, don’t bring a car to campus, if you do bring one, you may be frequently asked if others can borrow it. Monica Romero Matthews had this experience. She did not allow her two oldest children to have a car freshman year. “When I was a freshman in college I was THE driver because my new friends were not allowed to bring a car to school,” Monica said. Make a plan about how to handle these requests – and if you do let friends borrow your car, be clear about your expectations and about what to do if they’re in an accident.
8. Campuses are designed for walking
Even if you find a parking spot on campus, most parking is not located near the classrooms, because most campuses have been designed for students to walk. The U.S. Surgeon General recently highlighted colleges’ and universities’ opportunity to promote walking by creating pedestrian-friendly campuses and adopting policies that encourage walking. Learn more about the #StepItUp campaign.
9. You may miss out on what’s happening on campus
While it may be tempting to leave campus for dinner or to pick up groceries, this may mean missing out on what’s happening. Getting involved on campus and participating in the university’s events is a critical part of the college experience. In Alexander Astin’s book, What matters in college: four critical years revisited, research shows that engagement is positively linked to better grades while involvement with community service has a positive effect on student’s overall development.
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