Cash-strapped student spends year living in a Ford Focus

After the release of this year’s A level results last Thursday, around 400,000 British students will have been accepted to places at a university.

With the confirmation of a place comes the inevitable rush of nerves, but surely few will be as nervous as one Texas student…

Faced with his parents’ impending divorce and little money to pay for his expensive university fees, 20-year old Colin Ashby was forced to sleep in his Ford Focus for a whole year.

The mass communications major at Texas State University said that after paying his tuition fees, he was only left with “a few hundred bucks” to live on.

Colin massed the Focus his home

Challenged with the prospect of not being able to afford a place to live, Colin decided to live in his car, a first-generation Focus.

As if that wasn’t difficult enough, he also had to try and hide the fact that he was living there from both his peers and his parents.

Colin said: “While other freshmen were busy moving into their dorms, I sat in my car and duct-taped bed sheets to my car windows. For the rest of the day, I wandered around campus pretending to be excited about move-in day.

“When night hit, I reluctantly walked to the parking lot where my car was parked. Crawling into my back seat, I pulled up the sheets so no one could see inside the car and fell asleep.’

Having spent as much of his time as possible in the library, he also frequently spoke to his professors and also worked at McDonalds between 9pm and 5am, leaving less than three hours to sleep before 8am classes.

According to the unlucky student, the worst part of having to live in the small red Focus was the heat, especially under the scorching Texan sun.

“There were nights I’d lose sleep because of it,” he said. “It could get up to 100 degrees, and that’s without factoring in the humidity.”

To shower, he’d use his university’s gym and he used local laundrettes to wash his clothes. But what about eating?

“Not having a kitchen was a huge challenge,” he admitted. “I mostly ate pre-packaged food. There was a microwave in one of the dining halls at Texas State and I used that to cook Ramen noodles, soup and other microwavable foods.”

However, despite being caught in what many would see as a nightmare scenario, Colin remained optimistic throughout and is due to graduate in December.

Speaking about his overall university experience, he said: “I freaking love Texas State. I feel so lucky to be able to go here. It really is such a great school.”

Sleeping in a real bed now

The fate of the little red Focus is currently unknown, but it seems as though it has been retired from accommodation duties as Colin is now living with his brother.

Although it might not be any better to sleep in than its predecessor, the current generation Ford Focus is certainly good to drive.

Having won a string of awards and cementing its position as the world’s top-selling model again this year.

A refreshed version of the Focus is due to hit UK showrooms soon, and although pricing has yet to be announced, Ford has said that price information will be available closer to its on-sale date.