Commuting VS. Renting | USF Student Guide

Whether or not you choose to get an apartment near The University of South Florida campus or commute from home is a very personal decision, and it’s an important one that can have a big impact on your time as a college student at USF. While you’re weighing your options, these are some things to think about:

Cost of Renting an Apartment near USF vs. Commuting to Campus

Parking lot on USF campus

This goes beyond just the cost of rent for a USF off-campus housing, though that should certainly be considered. You should look at your costs as a whole, either on a monthly or per semester basis, to make a fair evaluation of what will work best for you. You should be considering a budget that looks at your costs holistically, which likely include:

Rent, including extras and utilities

  • Internet and/or cable
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Renter's Insurance

Monthly Commuting Expense

  • Gas
  • Tolls
  • Car maintenance, such as oil changes and tire replacement, depending on the mileage you're putting on your car

Parking on USF Campus

  • Exterior Apartment Community USFA campus parking permit ranges in price, though the current permit prices can be found on the USF Website.


  • Grocery expenses (for apartment living)
  • Restaurant expenses (for commuters)

Emergency Expenses

  • It's important not to spend every last penny you have in your budget, in the event of an emergency expense that isn't accounted for here.

Time Spent Commuting to USF Campus

Once you've determined your costs, time is the next most important consideration. You only have so many hours in the day, and as a student you want to get the best use of them. Some questions to ask yourself:

How long will it take you to and from the USF campus?

Screenshot of Google Maps Route to USF Campus
  • What if there's traffic (as there's known to be) on 275 or I-75?
  • Will you need to commute during rush hour for any of your classes? This could greatly change your commute time. Try mapping your route using Google Maps commute calculation tools.

How many times per week/month/semester will you make the commute?

How does the time spent commuting impact the rest of your life?

This last one is the kicker and really makes you think. Potentially, more hours spent in the car driving back and forth to USF campus means you work fewer hours at your job or are able to dedicate less time to studying. Maybe it means your social life takes a hit. Whatever it is, make sure that the time spent is worth the trade.

The College Experience

And on that note, whether you choose to commute from home or stay in an apartment near USF, your college experience will be shaped by that decision. Most of us consider our time spent at university some of the best (and most pivotal) years of our lives, so you need to evaluate how your decision will impact your experience. College doesn’t last forever, so consider:

  • Will either living situation put you in monetary distress?

  • Are you likely to miss out on key events around campus, like football games or parties, because of your living situation?

  • In your living situation, will you feel like a part of the USF community?

Remember - after all this, you’re not stuck with your decision. If you figure out, after a semester or two, that you’d rather live in an apartment near USF or commute from home, then make the switch. There is no right answer, but if you use these questions to guide you, you’re likely to end up in the best living situation for you.

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