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Car-Sharing Helps College Students Get Mobile

Having a car is an expense that not all college students can afford. But car-sharing programs on many campuses are giving students a chance to get wheels when they need them and get mobile. If you're debating whether to bring a car to college, learn about this option before you make your decision.

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By Jessica Lyons

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College Campuses Embrace Car-Sharing

Colleges all over the United States, in addition to ones in other countries, have brought car-sharing programs to their campuses. In March 2011, the University of Rhode Island (URI) announced that its Student Senate had formed a partnership with Connect By Hertz, which resulted in four cars on campus. Other examples include the WeCar program at Carleton College and U Car Share at Westminster College.

Zipcar notes that it is on more than 100 higher education campuses throughout the country, including Yale and the University of Michigan. Connect By Hertz is reportedly on 44 U.S. campuses.

How It Works

Although the specifics vary for each program, students typically pay a small fee and are able to rent a car on an hourly or daily basis. The programs are typically open to those 18 or older who have a valid driver's license. Additional state requirements could be applicable.

At URI, students register for the program online, which is also where they can make a reservation to rent the campus car. Once their reservation is made, they use their membership card to unlock the vehicle. The cost is $8 an hour or $62 per day. The price includes gas and insurance.

Students, faculty and staff members at Carleton College interested in using the car-share program must pay a $20 application fee and $30 annual membership fee. The cost to use one of the two cars on campus is $8 per hour, which includes gas. Cars can be rented overnight (from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.) for $39 or daily for $59.

The Benefits

There are several benefits to having on-campus car-share programs. First of all, this gives students who don't have their own cars the opportunity to rent one to go to the store or even on a trip for a reasonable price. It alleviates the aggravation associated with trying to get a ride with a friend or dealing with carrying a lot of shopping bags on public transportation.

Additionally, it can help reduce traffic on campus as fewer students worry about owning a car since they can rent one instead. Of course, fewer cars could also result in better or easier parking for the students who do still drive to school.

These programs also make colleges and universities more environmentally friendly. Cutting down on the amount of vehicles being used and their emissions helps schools reduce their carbon footprints.

Car-sharing is just one way schools are helping the environment. Find out about other things being done by some of the country's greenest colleges.

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