When there are events for students on campus late at night or during inconvenient hours, commuters may often feel left out at RIT. Sometimes seen as an escape from the cost of living on campus, commuting can mean being left out of some of RIT student life. 

According to U.S. News and World Report college rankings, 47 percent of students live off campus and commute to campus. As of fall 2013, this means that approximately 8,597 RIT students commuted to school.

“Because you’re actually living on campus it’s a whole new environment,” said Jasleen Dhaliwal, a second year Finance major at RIT and a commuter from Chili. “You’re independent to make your own decisions without anyone telling you what to do.” 

Parking is a huge issue across campus for students and Dhaliwal said she feels that commuters are treated especially unsatisfactorily. 

“I leave to go to school a half hour early because most of the time I can’t find a parking spot, and if I do it’s definitely a longer walk to class,” she said. “But not only that, it’s such a tease to see all these free parking spots in the reserved section.” 

Recently RIT’s parking administration instituted new rules for students and faculty alike. According to the parking website, commuting students must pay an annual $100 permit fee to park on campus; these charges apply to students from the RIT Inn and Racquet Club as well. Reserved parking permits are also available but for double or triple the cost, depending on the reserved parking plan.

Dhaliwal said commuting removes her from participating in RIT activities at times. “You’re kind of an outsider from the campus society and you never really learn about the best food places on campus,” she said. “But some of the perks include having your own bed, space, home cooked meals and a car.” 

In this way, some commuters may feel as though living at home while attending college doesn’t offer as much independence as living on campus. However, it removes the feeling of being homesick. 

“When kids live on campus they’re usually not from the area, so they don’t get their own house, space or that comforting feeling of being home,” said Dhaliwal. “Some people miss their mother’s home cooked meals, too."

There are many cost benefi ts for commuters. For example, most commuters don’t need to invest in a dining plan because they eat mainly at home. The most obvious cost elimination is housing. According to the RIT’s financial aid website, the average RIT student who lives on campus will have to pay just over $47,000 annually to go to school. The average RIT commuter will only have to pay just under $36,000 in order to attend. 

A couple of the obvious drawbacks of the costs involved in commuting include the ever-increasing price of gas and car maintenance. One of the ways to move past this obstacle, though, is to take the bus or carpool with someone.

Commuting can make for a nice escape from the sea of bricks that is RIT for those who can swing it. Whether you’re staying home with your parents or simply living off campus as an upperclassman, commuting can change your college experience significantly.