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Leasing a Car as an Option for College Students

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Leasing a Car as an Option for College Students

Mark Etinger
October 5, 2011

Going away to college can be an exciting time for both the student and parent. If it is the student's freshman year, it is particularly nerve wracking and stressful. But even if they are returning for another full year, there is still a lot to account for. And if your child doesn't have a car of their own, getting around can be very tough, especially if they go to a school with a very large campus or that is so many miles from home that it makes it hard to return for holidays. Leasing a car may be a good option, especially if they aren't sure if they will keep the car after school or if they need to work within their budget.

Often times, it isn't easy for a young adult going to college to afford a car of their own, unless they buy it used. But a used car that wasn't properly cared for, or is just very old, can cause them grief and have them spending much more on repairs. A new car is usually a better option but not many college students have the time for the kind of job that would let them afford to buy new Honda or any other brand car.

Leasing a car can be easier on a college student financially in the current economy, though of course you need to figure out if it is worth it. You don't want to end up having your son or daughter paying more in their lease over time than if they had just bought new, so do the math and help them to get a deal that works best for them.

The nice thing about a lease is, when you need to break it you can (though some require an extra fee for ending it early). You can also choose to have your child sign up for a lease until it's time for summer break, so it ends when they come back home and may not need the car. They can save their money for a few months and always enter into a new lease later.

After college, they can make the decision of whether they want to buy the car they've been using or not, which is a nice option moving forward. If they do get that great job out of college (here's hoping!) they can make that decision easily and get an even better price by holding on to the car they've been driving.

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