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Provide car for college or not


Replies to: Provide car for college or not

  • maya54maya54 Registered User Posts: 1,147 Senior Member
    edited April 21
    My younger daughter is required by the school to have a car at school ( Umich nursing). My older daughter wanted a car to get around more easily. She's at a school without great transportation. We could afford to pay for cars and insurance and so we do.
  • ConsolationConsolation Registered User Posts: 21,643 Senior Member
    I would not give him the car or let him take it for several reasons: fairness, cost, and safety. If ZipCar is available, he has a solution. Otherwise, a cheap bike for getting around campus would be something he should consider. Assuming that he is not required to contribute to his COA with his earnings, if he really wants a car he can buy a beater and insure it himself.

  • tdy123tdy123 Registered User Posts: 330 Member
    edited April 21
    Admittedly more of an urban school, but Son's sophomore suite of five started the year with one car and four bicycles. After driving the car across the continent before the fall semester started, owner drove the car all the way back home in December after finding it to be much more of a burden on campus (parking, parking, and parking - did I mention parking?) than expected. Walking, bicycling, zip car, the occasional Uber and shuttle bus have been more than adequate.
  • anomanderanomander Registered User Posts: 1,195 Senior Member
    My D did fine taking uber/lyft freshman year whenever she needed to go off-campus. She got an off-campus job and also moved off-campus sophomore year, so she took her car back to school with her this year.

    If your S really wants a car, I'd just let him buy a beater. You can get something decent in the 5-9k range; certainly older and higher mileage, but there should be good choices out there if he's careful and does a pre-purchase inspection.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 29,549 Senior Member
    Our kids got $7 bikes from the police auction that no one wanted to steal. Those lasted them all thru college. Parking and parking tickets are a MAJOR hassle and expenses at many campuses.
  • northwestynorthwesty Registered User Posts: 2,749 Senior Member
    It depends. Urban/suburban/rural campus; dorms vs. off campus apartment; part time job or internship and where located; cost of parking; etc. etc. etc. NYU is a different proposition than Iowa State obviously.

    My kids had beater cars at school for last two years while living in apartments where there was free/available street or lot parking. Cars were an expense, but then also provided some savings since they were used to get the kid (and gear) from home-school-home and also were used by family when in town visiting.

    Sure you can do fine at many campuses with bike, skate board, Uber, public transit and ride bumming. But depending on the set up, cars make sense too.
  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School Registered User Posts: 2,767 Senior Member
    There is a big difference when a student like @maya54 's is required to have a car for clinicals, or if your student participates in an activity that requires one (e.g. ski team) . Otherwise cars are just a distraction, and it is almost always cheaper to use zipcar, uber or a cab for grocery runs etc.
  • northwestynorthwesty Registered User Posts: 2,749 Senior Member
    Lots of schools have Zipcar type services, but the utility of them varies widely from campus to campus. My kid's school had like three Zipcars for 8,000 undergrads -- totally useless. The details on where the cars are located and how many there are makes a big difference.
  • yankeeinGAyankeeinGA Registered User Posts: 224 Junior Member
    I think this is a highly individual decision, and doesn't necessarily set a precedent for your other kids unless you let it.

    My oldest was allowed to purchase my old car from us for half the actual value -- that was, for us, a reasonable financial compromise. We pay the insurance as long as she's in school, she pays for gas. Transportation at her (fairly remote) college is poor and this allows her to get around and also to come home. She sees a fair number of medical specialists and making sure she has reliable transportation was more than just "hey, lets go to Target for snacks."

    My youngest is headed to an urban university with great public transportation. No car. No issues. I haven't heard any bitter accusations about loving his sister more. ;) It works for us.

    Sounds like you need to have an in-depth family conversation about want vs. need and also reasonable financial ownership. Maybe your kid needs to buy his own, cheaper car. Maybe he really doesn't need a car. But you can all figure it out together and by the time you're on to the next kid, unless you just handed over a car to the first one, you just assess again. Good luck!
  • hannuhyluhannuhylu Registered User Posts: 257 Junior Member
    Cant imagine them not having cars even in highschool. We bot work 50hrs a week and wife travels for work a fair amount.

    College that much more so, but I can see tumes qhen you wouldnt all situations are different.

    For us I cant see them not having a car.
  • aunt beaaunt bea Registered User Posts: 8,291 Senior Member
    edited April 21
    Three kids away at college.
    First kid was 3000 miles away, in snow country, and needed to drive to her internship.
    We had to bite the bullet and buy a car. She had to sign a contract with us about care, maintenance, rides, and safety. Fortunately, for us, she has been/was/ very responsible and steadfast about sticking to the contract when dorm mates asked for rides or to borrow the car. She would quote from the contract stating that she did not own the car and was not allowed to do much of anything except go back and forth to work.

    2nd kidhad clinical assignments and needed a car.

    First kid was "done with school" and brought car back home to have 2nd kid use car for clinic.
    Second kid also had to sign a similar contract.
    First kid walks to work and also has a bike.
    Third kid has our 18 yr old Camry. He keeps it at home, most of the time, because the school is in a 'burb, but he does need a car, to get to and from jobs, dr appointments, and inconvenient multiple transfers from trains to buses to trains to get home (4-6 hours) school in a 2hr car ride. He'll take the car up to school when he knows he has a series of appointments.

    Yes, we cover maintenance and insurance, but they cover everything else.

    My vote is to let him have a car but devise a contract with him and his siblings to suit your rules.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,509 Senior Member
    We didn't send cars with our kids to college...and somehow they managed.

    1. If HE has the car...he will likely be giving rides to others. Do you really want that to be the case?

    2. You need to check a number of things if he actually OWNS the car. First...he will likely need insurance of his own. If you decide he will be registering it in his college state, and getting a driver's license there...he will need to show that he is a resident of that state. Yes...possible. But if he does this...he won't be able to vote in YOUR state...because he is a resident of a different state.

    MIKE sure he has sufficient liability insurance.

    3. If you do decide to let him have the unnecessary, and expensive luxury of having a car in college...I would suggest you keep the car in your name, and let him use it at his college. You will need to talk to YOUR insurance as the car will be garaged in a different state. This might be an issue, and it might not be. As noted...state...and sometimes policy dependent.

    4. Since he has zipcar available to him...why doesn't he do that?

    5. My opinion...if he buys the car...he is responsible for everything related to it....insurance, maintenance, gas, registration, every cost. That's the responsibility one bears if they own a car.

  • northwestynorthwesty Registered User Posts: 2,749 Senior Member
    "1. If HE has the car...he will likely be giving rides to others. Do you really want that to be the case?"

    If he doesn't have a car, he will likely be bumming rides from others. Do you really want that to be the case?
  • Parentof2014gradParentof2014grad Registered User Posts: 595 Member
    We have a somewhat similar situation, and were deciding whether to provide D2 a car for sophomore year of college. D1 is at college in a big city with readily available public transportation. She also hates to drive unless absolutely necessary and hasn't wanted a car.
    D2 is finishing her freshman year of college. She is in an area with nearly nonexistent public transportation. No buses, no Uber, no Zipcar. I wish there was something. She gets around on a bike and rides from friends, but was briefly working two jobs while going to school trying to save money for a car. We convinced her to quit one of them and have decided to provide her with one for next year. She would like to have the option of pursuing an internship, but the city with all the opportunities is 20-30 miles away. We had not originally planned to do this, but it seems the right thing now.
    None of our kids had their own car in high school, but they drove one of our cars when they needed to get somewhere. DH works long days close to home, so driving dad to work and using his car was usually an option.

    I like the Zipcar option for your son, if he just wants a bit more freedom but doesn't otherwise have need for a car.
  • cellomom2cellomom2 Registered User Posts: 484 Member
    edited April 21
    My S had a car his last 2 years in college, it was registered in his name and he was able to stay on our insurance policy.
This discussion has been closed.