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College opens up a wide variety of experiences for you. Situations that you never dreamed possible come into fruition, and you find yourself with greater independence than you ever had. One of the decisions that you must make involves the attainment of a vehicle. Whether you are commuting to school or residing on the campus, you may need a car for a variety of purposes. Now that you know you need a car, you must decide if you want to buy it or lease it.

Consider Your Future Plans

When you are debating between buying or leasing a car, you should take into account your future plans. For example, even if you attend graduate school at the same institution, you will likely be in a different place or at a different point in your live within the next few years. Therefore, your need for the type of vehicle you want now may decline. In that case, a lease is the better decision. Lease agreements can last for varying amounts of time, but three years is a popular period. At the end of that period, you can return the car to the dealership and obtain a new one.

Factor in How Much You Drive

Leasing a car generally means that you have a limit on the amount of miles you can drive per year. You can often negotiate on that element, but you then may end up with a higher monthly payment; lower monthly costs are often why students choose leases in the first place. Therefore, you must take into account how frequently you drive and how long those trips are. Some students commute to a school that is just a few minutes away, so a lease makes sense. However, if you are frequently making trips across multiple states to go between home and school or if you are commuting to a school and to a job that are a distance from your home, buying the vehicle might make more financial sense.

Your Financial Circumstances

In college, your financial situation is often somewhat unstable. You may rely solely on money from your parents, or you might have a seasonal or part-time job. Furthermore, you could be nearing graduation and knowing that you want to save money for an apartment. When you do not have a great deal of money to spare, a lease is often the better answer. Leases tend to be less money per month than finances. Furthermore, you generally need a significantly lower amount of money for a down payment on a lease than on a finance; you might get a lease with no down payment at all. On the other hand, you might have saved money for a long time now. When that is the case and you know you want to keep your car for awhile, look into a finance.

Your financial situation is also going to play a major role in the time of opportunity for which you can receive an approval. If you have low credit scores or if you have no credit history, you may have a difficult time getting a good price at the dealership for either a lease or a finance. Therefore, you may need to have someone co-sign on the loan with you. As a result, that person’s financial situation will play a role in which type of opportunity you qualify for.


Having a car is a major responsibility whether you decide to lease it, finance it or buy it outright. However, when you decide to lease the car, it is akin to renting an apartment in several areas. You will return the car to the dealership at the end of the lease agreement unless you decide to purchase the vehicle at that point. If you are known for having a car that looks quite lived-in, then you either need to brush up on your cleaning skills or consider an agreement that does not require you to return the car after a certain period of time.

Whether or not to buy or lease a car is a question that many people have before they head to the dealership. As a college student, you should take the particulars of your current situation into account.