Commuter Students: the New Majority

Kayley Robinson: Commuter student shows off car keys.
Commuter student shows off car keys.

According to a study done by Complete College America found in an article entitled “Time is the Enemy,” 75 percent of students are college commuters, and nontraditional students are the new majority. Rising tuition costs, increasing national student debt, and other factors has lead a growing number of students to live at home during college, rather than on-campus, to save money. The monetary benefit to off-campus living is evident, but there are many other underlying advantages and disadvantages that come with being a commuter student. College Data reports that 25 percent of Spring Hill College students live off-campus, which is a considerable portion of the student body. Two SHC off-campus students shared their opinions about being a commuter.

Sophomore and Mobile native Lauryn Herman explained that while living at home has its perks, it also has its drawbacks. “I think being a commuter student is awesome, but I do think that commuter students get a very different overall college experience. Spring Hill has a very vibrant nightlife, and commuters don’t get to experience that as much as residents do.”

Alecia Wells, sophomore and Grand Bay resident, said, “I enjoy living at home and getting to see my family and pets daily, but I do personally feel that Spring Hill is geared more toward residential students.” Wells also stated that she has the luxury of sleeping in, but traffic can sometimes be unpredictable.

Both Herman and Wells agreed that the college could make a few adjustments to help commuter students feel as if their “home” is truly on the Hill. “I would like to see Spring Hill create commuter-friendly events,” said Wells. “Spring Hill could also have a ‘Commuter Appreciation Day,’ because there is not a better way of saying ‘we appreciate you’ than to host a day in your honor!”

Herman and Wells both had advice and tips for potential and current SHC commuter students on making the best of their college experience. “I would recommend that commuter students bring snacks with them when coming to campus, and also get involved on campus through joining clubs or intramural teams,” said Herman. “Try and be involved with activities on campus … and to always plan on leaving 15 minutes earlier than when they think they should leave for class,” said Wells. 

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