For some, getting to class may include a simple five-minute walk across campus or a two-minute drive down Pennington Road. But for hundreds of others, making it to class includes a slightly longer commute – with a stop at the gas pump along the way.
Each day, commuters make their way to the College from across the state, choosing to live at home as a cheaper alternative to both on and off-campus housing. But with haunting predictions of gas prices spiking once again to over $4 a gallon, commuting to the College has become anything but cheap or easy.
Meghan Kennedy, senior psychology major, makes the commute to campus from Hackettstown, N.J. – more than an hour away – at least twice a week. To save on time and money, Kennedy relies on friends for a place to stay some nights during the week.
“I have a Tuesday night class and a Wednesday morning class,” she said. “So, it’s just easier to stay in the area.”
While the price of gas has steadily plummeted in the past seven weeks, the decline pales in comparison to the average price one year ago – almost a full dollar less. Still, even those who considered rising gas prices when applying for student loans are falling short.
“I tried to take out some extra cash for gas when I applied for loans,” commuter Katherine Lukianov, senior English major, said. “But I know that some loan companies won’t give much more than the actual cost of tuition.”
The result leaves commuters with huge out-of-pocket costs and very little options otherwise.