Student Support



There are a variety of options to commute to Santa Monica College such as walking to campus, riding a bicycle, driving a vehicle or taking the Big Blue Bus which is free to all SMC students with an active SMC student ID and current enrollment sticker. We’ve also included a link to LAX too.

Car Rentals

Car rental companies require a current, valid home country or US drivers license, your passport or photo identification, and a major credit card.  Students on F-1 visas are allowed to drive in California using their home country license for as long as it is valid.  You are required to be insured, and the car rental companies will offer you insurance; rates vary, and it pays to shop around for competitive prices.  Below are some car rental companies in the Santa Monica area – be sure to ask if they provide a SMC student discount:

Car Dealerships

Buying a car may make financial sense if you plan on staying in the Santa Monica area for a few years, or taking frequent road trips in the area. Please keep in mind that parking, insurance, gas and maintenance can be expensive and problematic. Santa Monica has an efficient public transportation system, and riding the Big Blue Bus is free for enrolled SMC students. If you choose to buy a new or used car, here are some dealerships in the area:

Parking Regulations

Parking at SMC, Santa Monica city, and Los Angeles County is at a premium. Cars parked improperly, in the wrong area, too long in the same space, or in the wrong parking permit zone will be ticketed and in some cases towed away. Tickets or tows can be very expensive, and you are urged to carefully read all posted signs.

For more information on SMC parking, please visit: SMC Parking Information

For more information about SMC parking permits, please visit: SMC Parking Permits

For more information on sustainable transportation options, please visit: SMC Sustainable Transportation

For more information on Santa Monica City parking, please visit: City of Santa Monica Motorists Parking

For more information on Los Angeles parking, please visit: Parking in LA

Bike Routes

There are many bicycle paths and routes in the Santa Monica area.  Bicycle helmets are not required by law, but it is always a good idea to wear one. Please remember it is illegal to bike on the sidewalks in Santa Monica, and cyclists must follow all the same rules and regulations as a car driver. Infractions can be considered “moving violations” and be put on your driver’s license.

For more information on using your bike for transportation, please visit:

Proximity to Shops

When choosing your accommodations, make sure to check your area for grocery stores and markets. If you will be taking public transportation, remember that you may be carrying heavy items after a shopping trip; you do not want to have a long trip!

Below is a list of local chain stores that many students use; use a map search engine to find out how far your apartment or room is from the nearest stores.