Everything Commuters Should Know About NC State, All on One Page

Most NC State students live in a dorm on campus — right? Actually, many NC State students live off campus and walk, drive, or take the bus to class. It’s smart, really. Commuting is one of the best ways to save money in college.

If you’re new to the commuter student life, don’t worry. This page has everything you need to know about being a commuter, from the actual numbers to an insider’s guide to Main Campus.

NC State commuter infographic

NC State Actually Defines What a “Commuter Student” Is

If you live off campus and not in University-owned apartments (like Wolf Village, ES King Village, or Greek life housing), then you’re officially considered a commuter student.

Do Most Students Live Off Campus? Surprisingly, Yes

Students have been commuting to campus for years. If you’re a commuter, you’re actually part of the majority. Over the past 15 years, NC State’s student commuter population has been rising just as steadily as the total number of undergrad students attending NC State.

Average number of undergraduate students: 23,719

Average number of off-campus students: 16,093 (67.8%) 

Source: NC State OIED, Common Data Sets 1999 – 2014

All the Ways to Get to Class

Unless you live in some of the brand new apartments on Hillsborough Street, you probably won’t be walking to class. The more affordable student apartments are off Trailwood Drive about 10 minutes away from NC State’s Main Campus.

Parking is Limited and Pricey

Parking isn’t very cheap at NC State, and campus has a limited number of spots for its commuter students. Not surprisingly, Niche has given NC State’s parking a C rating.

Most of the commuter parking is available in parking decks around campus (which require a permit), with parking meters available along Hillsborough Street for additional Main Campus parking.

Buses are Free!

Riding school and city buses for free is a huge perk. The Wolfline is NC State University’s own network of buses, which offers shuttle service from Park & Ride lots, Cameron Village shopping center, and nearby areas to Main Campus.

The university has partnered with Raleigh’s city bus system, GoRaleigh, to offer free multi-use bus passes for NC State college students.

Off-campus student housing complexes like Campus Crossings and Wolf Creek often offer free shuttles just for residents.

Where to Eat When You’re on Campus

Every NC State student knows that the on-campus dining options are a little pricey. But if you’re in a pinch and need a quick bite to eat, you can stop by one of several convenience stores (C-Stores), Talley Student Union, the Atrium food court, one of several dining halls, and a handful of Port City Java coffee shops.

Commuter Students Have Their Own Meal Plan

If you’re on campus for hours at a time and don’t want to spend money on off-campus dining, University Dining offers a commuter plan that is valid at all dining locations on campus.

This is the Only Campus Map You Need

Need to know where the nearest vending machine is? Want to see which parking deck is closest to your classes? Use this map of campus and find your way around in no time.

Want a Free Guide to Campus?

NC State doesn’t provide a list of resources for commuter students all in one place. So if you’re looking for one giant guide to the top spots to eat around campus, where to find printers and computer labs, and unique problems that student commuters at NC State face, then check out the latest NC State commuter student guide.