The days are getting shorter, temperatures are starting to cool, and many students are beginning to prepare for their return to school. In the past, for many American students, the summer break lasted until Labor Day. The 31 days of August were typically the summer season’s last hurrah. Today, many schools are opening their doors earlier. CNN recently proclaimed that “August is the new September.” Stores have begun their “Back to School” sales and, for many college students, this is the time of year to find sensible and affordable transportation to class.
There’s a reason that the diet of a college student routinely consists of pizza that resembles cardboard, Ramen noodles, and frozen foods: a college education is expensive. The cost of tuition is reaching all-time highs. According to the College Board “The average cost of tuition and fees for the 2015–2016 school year was $32,405 at private colleges, $9,410 for state residents at public colleges, and $23,893 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.” With such high education costs, it’s no wonder the meals of college students are often less than gourmet.
For some students, transportation will be as easy as finding shoes in their messy dorm rooms. But for many, living on-campus is simply not an option due to the exorbitant cost. By one estimate, the average cost of room and board is $8,887 a year at public colleges and $10,089 per year at a private institution. Increasingly, students are living off-campus to off-set such costs and, therefore, are needing to find a sensible and affordable transportation option.
With rising education costs, students need to find savings wherever possible. Unfortunately, when looking for affordable transportation choices, used cars may not present the best option. Forbes has found that “the average price for a used car stood at $18,838, maintaining that trend could push the average price for a used unit to $20,000 by the end of the year.”
In an advice column for college students, Autotrader identified seven safe used cars for college students. Most of the vehicles suggested by Autotrader cost on average around $15,000. Not only are the used vehicles expensive for a student on a budget, it is likely that many of these vehicles do not come with a warranty. If a college student was to buy an inexpensive used car, there is virtually no guarantee that the car will last through the semester.
Rising education costs have made it financially difficult for college students to live on campus and, increasingly, college students are living off campus and commuting to class. The used car market offers few affordable, safe, and reliable options that fit the needs of a struggling student. If a new, inexpensive, and dependable vehicle were introduced to the market, it could make a revolutionary difference for many college students across the country.