The trumpeting of car horns in traffic and the parking crisis at CSUF make the commute to school seem like a harrowing journey, but this focus on the negatives largely overlooks the way that living off campus benefits both students and the state of California as a whole.
Firstly, living off campus is considerably cheaper than living on campus. Only one percent of the CSUF student population lives on campus, according to U.S. News. This shock factor is equivalent to the costly rates students pay to live in the dorms, which can add up to over $15,000 in the residence halls, $13,000 in the double apartments, and $16,000 in the single apartments for each academic year, according to CSUF’s Housing and Residential Engagement website.
California ranked as the second most expensive state to live in the United States, but low-income college students often work through this issue by finding roommates or living at home.
Through resources such as Facebook groups, students can now find and select their own roommates rather than randomly being placed with someone in the dorms. Living with roommates allows them to develop financial responsibility and create connections with people of all different majors.
Students who live at home are given more leeway to spend money on other important expenses such as gas, food and clothes. Living at home doesn’t afford the same autonomy as living with roommates, but it’s the most efficient option for those who are in a tough financial position.
These alternatives offer their own advantages in a student’s life and ultimately grant more important financial benefits than if they were to live on campus. In a college setting, money is a chief factor of survival.
Transportation is also a vital consideration when it comes to living off campus. While driving is seen as the most convenient and controlled method of transportation, riding the bus or train is also an option for students.
Public transportation is a viable workaround for the many issues California drivers face, such as traffic and rising gas prices. It is understandable that people prefer the comfort and privacy of their own car, but for a college student, these luxuries are normally reserved for their home.
Currently, CSUF’s parking and transportation services offer discounted Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) bus passes and Metrolink train passes. The bus pass generally costs around $92 for a semester’s worth of unlimited bus rides, whereas the train pass is 25 percent off the regular price with free bus rides.
OCTA partners with an app called Transit that provides updates on bus locations and times. There is also the option to receive live text alerts by texting bus lines to a certain number listed on OCTA’s website.
California is about 1.75 times larger than the United Kingdom, which warrants significant investment in infrastructure. Riding the bus and train funnels support into California’s public transportation system. In turn, this has the potential to transform it into an eco-friendly commuter state with many traveling options.
In addition to its cheap prices, public transportation carries personal benefits too. There are people from all walks of life on buses and trains, who help to facilitate a unique culture that mimics university life and allows students to meet more people from their school community. Public transportation lets students discover the culture outside of the university.
When taken hand in hand with public transportation’s communal influence, living off campus encapsulates the mindset of the average college student: Make an impact, meet new friends and survive through school.