Is It Smart To Have A Car In College?

The age of 16 is special for an American Teenage. It is the age when they are eligible to get a driver’s license and quite a lot of them get lucky to own their whip at that same age after completing the driver’s training and getting the license. Having a car at such an age comes with a lot of benefits but still, a car is an expensive purchase for a child. Having a car helps teenagers to navigate schools easily without relying on their parents who might not have time to take them to these meets. However, owning a car is expensive coupled with insurance, car maintenance, parking fees, safety, and other costs, teenagers at 16 shouldn’t have to worry about such bills yet. That is high school.  How about when a teenager gets to college at 18 when the need is greater? Is It Smart To Have A Car In College?

Is It Smart To Have A Car In College?

Is It Smart To Have A Car In College?

Going to College requires you to make a lot of decisions, what school should I attend, what major should I take, should I live on-campus or off-campus, down to a decision that seems so little like should I take a car to college, will that be the right decision.  This is quite difficult to answer because this decision depends greatly on the school you are going to and their policies. However, a lot of people think that it would not be considered smart to take a car in college and there is a big point there.

Advantages of Having a Car in College

Freedom and Independence

Students are excited to go to college because of the level of freedom that becomes available to them. Having a car teaches them to be responsible and independent. Having a car allows you to explore, plan outings, visit anywhere you want, and access any place for shopping on your terms. 

Easy Navigation

Having a car makes it easy for you to commute on-campus and off-campus. If you have a part-time job or an internship off-campus it helps you go to and from there without any difficulty. Having a car will make you never have to worry about late buses, long train rides, and costly flights. 

Going Home

A car also helps you to go home on urgent needs which can help you save time if you had to take a bus ride or buy an available plane ticket which can be very costly. It can help you to visit your family at will on breaks, weekends, and holidays, especially if you do not stay too far from campus. 

Disadvantages of Having a Car in College

Bringing a car to college can make your life a lot easier and more fun, but there are a lot of disadvantages to bringing a car and the major reason we would be considering is the cost. This cost incurred during your period of having a car in college is dependent on where you stay. 

Many Universities in the United States do not allow students to bring cars into campus, especially for the fresh students. So, any student wanting to bring a car to college needs to consider the policy of the school they are about to attend. 

If your school allows students to bring cars there are major expenses to consider when making this decision; Fuel, Insurance, Maintenance, Taxes, and Parking.


It costs an average car $0.16 to drive per mile, and if you drive about 5000 miles every semester you would be spending about $800 to fuel your car every semester and if the gas price goes up you might be unable to fuel your car. This is a high expense for a college student excluding other personal expenses. 


Beyond paying for gas there is the insurance rate. The average cost of insurance for college students is about $3,816 with a payment of $318 per month. Most students however stay under their parent’s insurance. Even if you do not drive the car at all or occasionally, you still have to pay some form of insurance. Students, who can afford to pay for car insurance, as well as their parents, should not bring a car to college at all. 


Machines aren’t indestructible machines. It can develop a fault at any time no matter how careful or how well you service your car. It just happens to be that way. Maintaining a car could cost an average $770 per year and you could spend more the older your car gets. You might also have to buy or change certain car parts most especially the car tires if you drive very often. 


This is another inevitable expense along with the cost of renewing your license and registration. All these to worry about for a student!


This is an important expense to consider when making this decision. Universities in the Country do not encourage cars on campus for a myriad of reasons. There are parking spaces but students have to pay certain fees in other to park and these fees vary from one college to another and are also dependent on where you stay; On-Campus or Off-Campus.

The fees paid range from $115 to $858 a year while it ranges from $80 to $800 per semester in some other schools. 


Owning a car alone can cost you about 2,000 dollars per semester and would run into almost 7,000 dollars in a year. How much would it cost for 4 years in the university? This is excluding your personal expense. Many students can’t even afford college tuition and struggle to get financial aid from the school. This is a lifestyle that many college students cannot afford. If you get a scholarship and you go out partying with friends in your car and you drive drunk, you could easily lose any scholarship you have attained because of the DUI Policy (Driving under the Influence).

However, this is not to say that you should not bring a car to college, you can but do the math to see if it is something you and your family can afford. If not, the school public transport system can help you commute easily around campus, and on some occasions, you can make use of Lyft or Uber to navigate certain areas in the city. Whether or not you take a car to college is up to you. 

Live a lifestyle you can afford!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why Do Universities Discourage Students From Having Cars on Campus?

Most colleges discourage students from bringing cars on campus, especially the fresh students, and that is why they make the price of parking spaces to be on the high side. Campus roads are not really built for cars but pedestrians. Colleges provide public transportation for their students to reduce the number of cars on campus and for easy commute.

  • They do this to reduce traffic on campus.
  • Creates distractions and prevents students from studying. 
  • To prevent accidents. 
  • Cramped up parking space (Imagine if everyone had a car.)
  • To prevent students from being in DUI situations when trying to explore. 
  • Universities Where Students Rarely Bring Cars
  • Boston College.
  • Boston University.
  • Georgetown University.
  • John Hopkins University.
  • Lesley University.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Princeton University.
  • University of Pennsylvania.
  • University of Washington.
  • University of Wisconsin