General Question

thedazedandconfused1's avatar

Get a car or live on campus?

Asked by thedazedandconfused1 (7points) March 6th, 2010

We’ll i got into the school i wanted and my tuition is covered by the scholarship money that have received. The biggest hurdle now is paying for room and board. Today my dad proposed that i could either somehow get money to live on campus or that i could get a car for transportation to and from school. The school i am going to is like 30 min. away from my house. Going to school and coming back home seems like it would just be high school all over again. But with the room and board, i’d have to keep finding money every semester to pay for it. I really was looking forward to living away from my parents and having the whole college experience of meeting new people and living on my own and things like that.I didnt really have any close friendships with people and high school and i was looking forward to developing new ones this fall. but its either one or the other. I dont know which one i want. Please help.

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23 Answers

rangerr's avatar

Save the planet, take a bus.

MrItty's avatar

You have to live on or near campus. You’re absolutely correct that living with your parents and commuting to school every day will be no different than going to HS. You are missing about 90% of the college experience.

I propose you look for a cheap off-campus apartment. That would eliminate the need for a car, but would almost certainly cost significantly less than living in the dorms and buying their meal plan.

Living with Mommy & Daddy while going to college would be the absolute last resort.

bhec10's avatar

Adding to what @MrItty said: get a bike asap!

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Car. It opens up so many opportunities for you. Living on campus is a drag. Live off campus if thats an option because living at home while going to college is also a drag.
Living on campus AND having a car is the way to go if you can swing it.

marinelife's avatar

I think you could go to the financial aid office and see if there is help for living on campus or consider getting a part-time job.

I think you will really benefit from the experience of living away from home.

jerv's avatar

You could split the difference and live in your car.
I hear it’s pretty fashionable these days; lots of people are doing it :D

@MrItty My experience is that there is no such thing as a cheap apartment near a college. In fact, that makes things difficult for us non-college people trying out find a place to live that just happens to be near a college that lacks sufficient space to house every student on campus. Some landlords figure mom and dad will pay any price so that junior doesn’t have to sleep on the streets and jack rents accordingly.
Been there, got my wallet sucked dry by that, couldn’t afford the t-shirt.

filmfann's avatar

Living away from the Rents sounds like fun, but it ends up being quite a hassle.
Money, food, laundry.
Living at college would be great, but it requires a lot of discipline

mrrich724's avatar

Do NOT live at home. It’s just not the same. Even if u have to learn to take the public transportation system… Even if u have to take out student loans, it is worth living on or near campus… But NOT in a dorm:)

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I would suggest living on campus the first year. Living in an apartment as a freshman is a recipe for disaster, plus you have to acquire all the stuff to put in an apartment, which is expensive. You’ll have a better college experience being on campus, and be able to focus on your studies. Freshman with apartments usually equates to too much partying, problems with friends, etc. Second year, get an apartment. Apartments near campuses tend to be crappy because they’re rented to students who trash them, or expense, or both. Usually both.

Likeradar's avatar

I’m for living on campus.
Living ½ an hour away from school if there is a lively dorm scene really detracts from the college experience, in my opinion. The benefits of living in the dorms are great- you get a great stepping stone between living with your parents and being really on your own.Caf food is sometimes included in the cost, which is awesome. The social aspects, with all the usual ups and downs and drama, are a huge part of college life.

Many students have a job in addition to being a full time student- it can be hard, but it can help with the costs. Also, as @marinelife said, it’s definitley worth talking to the powers that be at your school about programs, which may include grants, scholarships, or work studies, to help cover the costs.

thriftymaid's avatar

Find a way to live on campus. Your inclination toward this option is the best if you can swing it. Living at home and going to class will be EXACTLY like high school.

cbloom8's avatar

First: live on or near campus. Don’t live with your parents.

Second: Get a car if your college is really spread out or key places (like shopping, food, entertainment, etc.) are not within walking distance or there is no reliable transit system. You don’t need a car in dense, urban college settings. Where are you going to college?

MrItty's avatar

@jerv My experience is the exact opposite. I realize I’m 10ish years out of date, but I still have the cost comparison I documented to show my parents at the time:
On-Campus: 9 months of residency. $3,718 for sharing a single room with a roommate, plus $3,790 for the meal plan. Total of $7,508, or $834/month. (Not to mention you get kicked out for 3–4 weeks in winter and 1 week in spring)
Off-Campus: A four bed room apartment, with shared living room, dining room, and kitchen. 12 months of residency, at $165/month. Bills averaged about $100/month per roommate, and food was whatever you chose to buy (I figured about $100/month for that as well). Total: $365/month. And you don’t get kicked out randomly during your lease.

skfinkel's avatar

Live on campus. It makes college a very different and valuable experience in a whole new way. You will be getting a chance to meet people outside of class, late at night, have the kind of discussions that make college a rich and memorable time of your life.

wundayatta's avatar

If you want to experience some semblance of freedom, live on campus. You may have to have a job. Living at home when you are an adult or nearly so makes a lot of people really grumpy.

jerv's avatar

@MrItty No such thing as a 4-bedroom apartment in my old stomping grounds. If you wanted to live in town (or within 5 miles of it, and there’s no public transportation) you were looking at closer to $800 plus utilities for a 1-bedroom, $950 plus utilities for a 2-bedroom or ~$500 for a rented room in someone else’s place. Figure another $200 for utilities and note the limited number of spaces available to house expense-sharing roomies and it is a bit higher.
Part of it has to do with NH using high property taxes to compensate for the lack of sales or income tax. If a rental house costs more to own then the landlord will pass it on to the tenants. The only person I knew who lived off campus had wealthy parents. We’re talking BMW 7-series and winter home in Florida here.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@MrItty, you are out of date. My daughter paid $1500 a month last year for a four bedroom apartment near an urban midwestern campus; it was a total dump. Utilities ran about $75 each; the share each was about $450 per person. This was the going rate for the convenience of living within walking distance of campus, and not the most expensive of apartments. Add to that the cost of acquiring furniture and household goods, and she spent about $600 on stuff to move in with. A hefty deposit was required because they were students, both for the rent and for the utilities. The nicer things that she bought at the goodwill or scavenged from family were trashed by her roommates, their friends and her roommates’ pets.

MrItty's avatar

@jerv & @PandoraBoxx are you both unwilling to consider the possibility that living expenses has something to do with the area of the country in which you attend college? Because that seems pretty friggin obvious to me.

jerv's avatar

@MrItty True. That is why I mentioned that I lived in NH at that time. The living expenses near Keene State College are comparable to what they are in San Diego or Seattle, despite being a much smaller city (<30K people). That is a bit more than in many areas of the South and Midwest (many of my friends in those areas are amazed at how much we pay) yet considerably lower than Boston or any of the three “big” cities in NH.
It is also why my wife and I lived ~15 miles from town; even with the added gas costs, it was cheaper to burn a gallon of gas a day going to/from town than it was to live in town and walk.

But I can only go by my experience here. Without knowing more about where the OP lives (cost of living, availability of mass transit, etcetera…) I pretty much assume that it’s comparable to where I’ve been (all four corners of the 48 contiguous states) and will continue to assume that until told otherwise.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@MrItty, agreed that location has a lot to do with prices, but so does the 10 years between when you were a college student, compared to what my daughter paid last year. She could have found a much nicer, much cheaper apartment if a mandatory criteria was not “walk to campus.” As more and more students are opting not to live in dorms, rent for students has gone up dramatically, especially for schools that allow freshman to live off-campus. When I complained to one landlord about the rent of one of the places she was looking at, he said that it was because so many freshman are living in apartments, and are destroying them. The security deposit doesn’t cover the damage each year, so the rents are jacked up. Parents pony up the deposit and the rent, and don’t teach kids that they have to take care of the space that they live in.

jerv's avatar

@PandoraBoxx Don’t forget supply and demand. Regardless of schools or student status, when there are many people looking for few of anything, that also raises prices and housing is no exception.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@jerv, true. There were numerous articles aimed at college parents a few years back, equating the high cost of campus housing compared to renting an apartment. If you just look at the rent, that’s true. When you factor in utilities, and furnishing a place to live, the cost goes up.

And while there are many advantages to living in an apartment, the majority of college freshman are not ready to live on their own, where they are responsible for taking out the trash, vacuuming, cleaning out the refrigerator/stove/bathroom without someone riding herd on them to do so. While dorms aren’t glamorous, they are far more indestructible than an apartment.

My daughter’s name was on the utilities, and came to find out that the bills were estimated, and when they went back in May to re-estimate, they owed another $1500 to the utility company. By this time, two of her roommates had moved out, because they moved to different cities after graduation, even though they were on the lease until September, and didn’t feel like they had to pay for the back utilities since they were no longer there, although they did pay their share of the rent for the summer months. These were grad students, not freshmen.

Food/groceries ran my daughter about $300 a month; for some reason, no one else budgeted in things like toilet paper, paper towels, soap/shampoo, cleaning supplies, and used hers as if they were communal property.

jerv's avatar

@PandoraBoxx My wife used to clean at the local college, usually the (public areas of the) freshman dorm building. Good thing the walls were made of cinder blocks :D

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