Whether or not your child needs a car at school depends on a number of things. Obviously, you want them to be able to travel to-and-from the grocery store and visit home without any mishaps. However, it may not be all that necessary for them to have a car on campus. In fact, many schools prohibit first-year students from having a vehicle on campus.
This is to promote freshmen to be more involved on campus and not travel home as much but it can have its financial benefits as well.
The average 18-year-0ld pays $3,148 in insurance each year. Annually, you can also expect to spend more than $1,200 on gas, $800 on maintenance, and around $700 on licenses, taxes, and registration. Not to mention that if your child decides to bring a car on campus they will also have to pay for a parking pass as well as other parking costs.
It is also good to consider the financial perks of having a car on campus as well. Although having a car may be expensive, on-campus stores usually charge high prices for snack items. Having a car can help save money on groceries. It can also provide a way for them to save money when traveling home for the holidays. Instead of an expensive plane ticket, they’ll be able to drive their car.
All in all, you will need to weigh out how much you stand to save vs how much you stand to lose when sending your child to school with a car. This should determine whether or not you decide to do so.
Best Cars for College Students
If you’re going to spend the money on it though, it is a good idea to do research and determine which car may be a good fit for your child. Luckily, Edmunds releases a list of best used cars for college students each year. Parents considering purchasing their college student a car should think about the options listed below.
- 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid: On average, a newer used Honda Accord runs about $16,430. It gets 49 mpg city and 45 mpg highway. It is a popular car amongst college students because of its fuel efficiency and utility (seating up to five).
- 2013 Volkswagen GTI: The GTI has an appeal to people who love cars. You can get a 2013 GTI for around $13,826. This model gets 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.
- 2014 Mazda 3: Comparable to the GTI, a Mazda 3 is a bit more affordable at an average price of $12,770. It also gets better gas mileage at 29 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.
- 2016 Toyota Rav4: For students looking for a bit more space and utility in their vehicle, there is the Toyota Rav4. You can get a 2016 model for around $21,235. It isn’t as great on gas mileage (23 city/30 highway) but you’ll have plenty of space for road trips.
When it comes to finding a car that will be safe and provide value for your student, you’ll want to go newer but used. Each of the options above, along with a number of other used cars may be the perfect fit for your child. The key to finding the right car is determining what will fit your budget, shopping around, and comparing prices as well as weighing needs and wants.
Readers, do you think you should buy your college student a car?