College: Should I let my daughter take her car?

Rachel - posted on 04/27/2009 ( 26 moms have responded )

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For her first year of college, should I let my daugher take her car, which she bought with her own $ (we hold insurance) to a college two hours away?

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Anne - posted on 04/27/2009

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Hi Rachel, Your daughters wanting to take her car may be out of either of your hands. Has she checked if she can even have a car as a Freshman/first year student? Our youngest daughter goes to a small Nazarene college in San Diego CA and freshman students can have cars on campus and if they have a car and park within so many blocks of the college they are fined. The college is near a neighborhood and the school wants to keep good relationships with the neighbors. We live in MI and many of the colleges both small and large have rules about cars on campus. I agree that there are times when a car may be needed. Because you pay the insurance you may want to set some boundaries as to who can and can not drive her car if she does take it to school. I hope this post helps.

Kerry - posted on 04/27/2009

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Hi Rachel,

Yes, I think you should let her take the car. She was responsible enough to save the money to purchase it, that says alot. Also, I have two kids in college and they are forever needing to shop for different school supplies and necessities that are not always available on campus. It will also give her the opportunity to know the area and community where she will be living. She will also have her car to drive home for visits.

[deleted account]

Good question, my ex bought my daughter a car for her senior year and holds the lien and insurance, when he mentioned it i told him not to for I was not ready for her to drive, but he went and did it anyway, now hes freaking out because shes going to college 5 hours away and he cant put the car & the ins on her name, and hes worried if something happens....Dont listen to me! I dont know what im talking about DAD!!!! lol

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I don't think it has to do with whether she bought the car...it's still her car, but may not be practical. Expenses increase for insurane when it's not garaged at your home and there may be a per semester parking fee/pass to purchase. There will also be expected increase in gas spending and the unexpected repair.



If money isn't an issue, has she been driving long and earned your respect as a driver?



Allison (on 4/29) makes a good point that maybe she'll bring friends and come home more often is she can be spontaneous.



My situation: My son is going to be a sophomore about an hour away and lives on campus with a bike and the bus route which is free to students...his car stays here. We pop out once a month or more and take him shopping or whatever. My daughter is a freshman and is going 11 hours away. She's taking her car because we can't get to her. Her insurance is going up and we have a parking pass to purchase. She has earned our trust since getting her license over a year ago. If, however, she gets in an accident or ticket which causes the insurance to rise, the car will come back home and she will get along on a bike.

Marie - posted on 08/05/2009

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I have two daughters in college. They both have cars at school. The first year at my youngest daughters college the parking cost $500 per semester and she would have to park more then a mile from the dorm, so she left her car home until she moved off campus into her own apt the second year. The answer really depends on many factors which you and your daughter need to explore: Costs involved, location of student parking (is it a mile from the dorm?), distance to school, how mature the child is, if others she is housing with have a car, if she needs it for employment, if stores are in walking distance. No real easy answer.

Lynn - posted on 08/01/2009

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My daughter will be going into her junior year in college. We did not allow her to take a car freshman year, her college does allow freshman to have cars. I agree with many it depends on your child and you. If you do not want her to take the car the answer is no. My daughter was very responsible and had actually lived on her own the 2 summers before college for a job that was too far from home for her to drive back and forth. She was an A student in HS so that was not an issue either. My reasons were that I wanted her to settle in to school and not have excuses to look outside of the campus to do things. I think that it is very important for the student to adjust to the campus. I was very glad she did not take her car, suprising to me and also to my daughter she got very homesick and wanted to come home. I would not let her. She needed to grin and bear it and find her group. She was very active in high school, so I did not expect the homesickness. If she had a car she would have been home or running to other colleges to visit her high school friends. By mid first semester she started to settle in. She did say she needed to rely on others to go shopping but that was OK and her school had a good bus system to take them where they needed to go. It was her job to focus on school and also to prove that she was going to make this adjustment. She maintained her grades and earned the privilege of taking her car her sophomore year. College is a much bigger adjustment then most seem to understand. There are so many more pressures than in high school and my daughter saw lots of kids change in that first semester, some for better and some for worse. It is a family decision but I was happy with my decision, my daughter was not. She survived and there was nothing she needed to shop for that she could not have shipped to her from drugstore.com/target.com etc...

Candy - posted on 07/31/2009

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If she is over 18 (an adult) and the car is in her name, you don't really have a say in the matter. If the car is yours then it depends on how responsible she is. She is an adult now and she should be treated as such. Give her the pink slip to HER life, that means she makes the decisions and she OWNS the consequences, good or bad.

Shannon - posted on 07/31/2009

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I honestly don't see how it is your choice whether or not your daughter should take her care. Give her the choice, but give her conditions. If she wants to take the car, explain to her that you will no longer be responsible for the insurance premiums because, as an adult, it is her responsibility to handle her affairs. You have to cut the apron strings and let your child learn to be an adult by trial and error. If she is not given the oppurtunity to make mistakes, how can she learn from mistakes? That's what life is all about- trial and error. You should tell her about some of the mistakes you have made and what you learned from them. If she makes the choice to take the car, don't argue too much. Choose your battles because some things just are not worth getting worked up over.

Katherine - posted on 07/27/2009

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I have let both of my older daughter's take their cars, and I am letting my youngest take hers as well. I didn't have my car first semester of college (back in the dark ages, you know) and I remember how hard it was getting around San Diego, Public transportation here leaves a lot to be desired, even now. I also remember being at the mercy of those who did have cars - people who drove drunk, stoned, or just very fast (+90 mph). I drove with all three. My mom would have had a heart attack if she knew.



It's really a personal decision though. I would lean towards leaving the car at home if there were great public transportation, but if not, then I would definitely consider letting them take their car to school.

Joyce - posted on 07/21/2009

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Follow what's in YOUR heart - the very fact that you asked means you have doubt. So either you give in and worried all the time or take a stand and have the peace of mind the car and your daughter are where they are to be.

Rhonda - posted on 07/21/2009

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From past experience with my oldest child, and on recommendations from a senior at Ohio University, I do not recommend a freshman taking the car. For one thing, a lot of people will take advantage of her having a car. You don't want her carting kids back and forth to "the bar". Since she is new, she may want to do things she normally wouldn't to "fit in" and meet new people. I think she is close enough to get a ride from you, or get rides from other kids parents. Taking turns after she meets some kids from your area, you can meet them and the parents if need be. I really feel strongly about this, let her acclimate to school, and then think about this her sophomore year.

Jackie - posted on 07/20/2009

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I do not think that is a good idea. Let her get used to college life without a car. There is usually public transportation in the area. If she has no vehicle and has to manage how to get around once she does get one she will appreciate it alot. I would not do that until senior year. They still need to earn things and not have them given to them. My son did not take the car until senior year and it was a nightmare. He did not do as well academically and the car got stolen from the auto shop! Now he has no car and guess what? I am not buying another one! If she does not have a car she will know who her true friends are. Everybody wants to be your best friend when they know you have a car. I would think about it.

Teresa - posted on 07/14/2009

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The college may take care of that. Most colleges do not allow first year students to have a car. If you do not want her to take the car, then tell her she needs to pay the cost of the parking fee....which can be expensive.

My son took his car down the second year. It was great in the sense that he could come home whenever and I didn't have to drive a total of 6 hours a day to get him, but I did go down quite a bit to visit, at his request of course. The majority of the time, his truck sat in the parking lot....because it costs money to put gas in it.....our rule is we will pay his way to come home and go back to school, but if he wants to drive around and do things, it is up to him to put gas in his truck.

I would

Connie - posted on 07/13/2009

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Yes and No. It depends on her study habits and social habits. You can put the car on hold for the first semester to see how her grades are. If that is not an issue then go ahead and let her have the car, but beware of speeding tickets and parking tickets. Also, if she rents a parking space in the college parking garage, understand she may still have to walk a great distance to and from her dorm.

Renee - posted on 07/13/2009

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Most college don't allow freshman to have cars their is a reason for that. If they do allow them to have a car it is usally work related. I would suggest no car less trouble to get into. My daughter just graduated no car 3 years. Renee Pughsley

Paula - posted on 07/11/2009

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My daughters college said no cars the first year of college on campus. This forced the kids to socilaize on campus and spend more time learing independance. I did the "pick up "thing, since they were only 100 miles from home. The following years they had thier cars with them. They used the cars to go to work and out on weekends.

I think the no car rule was good. It gave them independence from Mom and allowed them to mix and mingle with the college crowd. Something that would not occur if they were home every weekend of their college time. It also trained them to use public transportaion as well as to rely on themselves more. Taught them to schedule time better as well. I think there were many lessons on the "no car rule".

[deleted account]

I did not allow my daughter to have her car at school until Jr year. She is 4 hours away, but I did not want her to bve ablke to jump in the car and drive home everytime she felt overwhelmed or homesick. They have to learn to fend for themselves. Most campuses are within walking distance of anything the kids need, and drinking on and around campuses is quite a worry - why add driving to that mix? At Ohio U, freshmen could have cars but had to park off campus - it was quite a walk to the dorms from the lot, which charged a large sum to park there, as well. Wait until she has adjusted well to campus life and knows her way around the community before she has a car on campus. If you pay the insurance, you have some say in the matter. Be the parent and tell her that you know best on this one. Maybe next year . . .

Becky - posted on 07/08/2009

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I work in insurance and one thing to consider is auto insurance rates which are already high for young drivers. When my son went away to school without his vehicle, our insurance rate dropped way down. Most companies give a credit for a child who is away at school over 100 miles without a vehicle.

Leslie - posted on 06/30/2009

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In addition to considering the college's position on 1st year students with cars, you also need to think about safety concerns. Is there safe, reliable transportation to get her to the places she will want to go? You don't want to encourage her to walk if it's not safe for young women to do so, or worse, to get a ride with the wrong person. My parents gave me a used car to take to college because they wanted to make sure I could get places safely in the evenings. My old station wagon wasn't cool, but it would hold all my friends AND their groceries. LOL. I never had to wonder whether I would be able to get a ride home from an evening activity.

Cathy - posted on 06/27/2009

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I think so if you believe she is trust worthy and responsible by all means. I share my car with my daughter who is in college and I wish she owned her own car! but for now this is how it is. She is becomming a paramedic. If you are concerned I suggest that you put the insurance in her name. I find most college students are responsible. I work at a College in Alberta Canada and there are students from all over the world attending and yes they do have vehicles. Over all even without parents around they are wonderful people. This is the trust thing and communication and guidelines are important. Best wishes to you.

Terry - posted on 06/25/2009

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As the parent of 3 kids who have finished college and another in her junior year, the policy in our house was that they did not have a car at college during their freshman year. Since all of them lived on campus (the youngest is going to school in NYC and still does not have a car), and had their meals in the caf, there was no need to have a car. The oldest 2 went to the same school 2 hours away and the 3rd went to school 6 hours away. None of them had their own car at the time, so that wasn't an issue. I agree that you need to check the school's policy first and then YOU need to make the decision based on her maturity and level of responsibility. Is she going to be working off campus? That is something else to consider.

[deleted account]

Hi Rachel, I have 2 daughters that were at college at the same time. The answer to your question might be "it depends". My older daughter went to a college in a small town with a contained campus. There was a designated parking lot that didn't cost anything. She took her car the first year. My younger daughter went to a college in a small city that had no parking and the parking garages in the area would have cost $90-$150 a month. She did not take her car. However we went and picked her up and dropped her off every weekend.

Kim - posted on 06/09/2009

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Absolutely not! I wouldn't let my son have his car his first TWO yrs. It forced him to learn how to get around the area (Washington, DC) using public transportation. If he only had his car and then something happened to his car which caused it to be unusable, he wouldn't have a clue how to get from point A to point B. He now uses the Metro system (train), the Public Bus system and has even hailed a cab. It was the best thing we did. He can now have his car this year (junior year) but I feel much better knowing he can get around, no matter what happens.

Rainey - posted on 04/30/2009

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Many good thoughts here. Our daughter 3rd year colllege, had her car since first year. However, I held back the first few months not letting her have a car just to see how it would go. Eventually, she got the car. She pays for the gas while she's there. Parents have been paying for her car insurance. Check with school and see what policy is. If you decide to let her, I would say I love and trust that you will make the right decisions in the upkeep of the car and transporting any friends e.g. buckling up, no drinking/driving or transporting drunk students, you are responsible for any driving/speeding/parking tickets, etc. Good luck. Sometimes we just have to trust and let go.

Jill - posted on 04/30/2009

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my daughter just finished 4 yrs and is about to do her masters and i discouraged her not to have a car for the first 4 yrs and she decided she didn't need the extra expense and was only 1 hr away from home and she was on a busy bus route and was fine with it now she probably needs a car and plans on buying one . My son is going for his first year in Sept and he is going with no car and far away and plans on bringing the train home. I guess its whatever works for your family status each situation is different.

Allison - posted on 04/29/2009

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Unless you want to be the chauffeur, then I suggest you allow her to have the car. My daughter took her car to school--she's finishing her freshman year right now. The school is 2 hours from home and she came home perhaps 9-10 times this year. Twice she brought home a friend who lives in the area and goes to a university near her (her friend wasn't allowed to have a car at school). The friend was reliant on everyone to get where she needed to go and it wasn't easy for her. And her parents often had to make the round trip to bring her home and then take her back again.

Also, a lot has to do with the school. I agree Nazarene won't let freshmen have cars (I have several friends who have kids there). But does this school have full service dorms (assuming she'll live in a dorm). My daughter's school does not. She has to do grocery shopping every weekend. She could walk, but it's dangerous (she has to cross a freeway overpass with on and off ramps). She also volunteered to be a student teacher at a nearby middle school--something she wouldn't have been able to do without a car as the school is over 5 miles from her college.

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