10 College Costs That May Surprise You
Be aware: The price of attending college is more than just tuition. Sure, its likely to be the single largest expense, but plenty of extra costs pop up at the start of the semester and throughout the year. Thats in addition to housing and books and supplies figures often included in college materials. Some fees are related to coursework and being a successful student. Other out-of-pocket expenses come with experiencing the college lifestyle. Here are 10 hidden college costs youll want to squeeze into your budget.
1. Parking and transportation - A spot in a campus parking deck or lot can be a couple hundred dollars or more a semester. Also factor in the gas or airfare to travel from home to school and on trips during school breaks, as well as fuel and/or bus fees to get to class from your dorm or apartment. You could expect to pay $1,000 or more a year on transportation, depending on distances.
2. Program fees - If your major is in the sciences, you may face a hefty supply fee to use schools labs and equipment. Students in other majors also have supply fees to pay; and if youre in the music department, you may have to pay for access to practice rooms.
3. Computer and other supplies - You could have to fork out up to a couple of thousand dollars at the start of the semester to buy a current computer and printer and even special software for classes. College isnt a completely paperless environment, either, so expect to buy pens, paper, binders, highlighters and other traditional school supplies, too.
4. Phone - You may be able to get by with just a cell phone (with no land line), but those monthly fees also might include charges for texting and Internet access plans offered by some phones.
5. Food Meal - These plan prices are provided by schools, but expect to budget for meals on days and during times when the dining halls are closed. Also, consider late-night pizza runs with friends as well as coffee and sugary treats needed to pull long hours while studying or working on projects.
6. Activity Fees and Student Group Memberships - Many schools have mandatory fees to use facilities such as a health and fitness center (plus more if you want a locker or use of other specific amenities) or to be admitted to campus events for free. Those fees also may include access to the schools wireless network and could stretch to a couple hundred dollars or more. Expect costs of $500 or more at some schools, if you pledge a sorority or fraternity and take part in Greek events. And if you join other student organizations you may need funds for various events and activities throughout the year.
7. Entertainment - Football games, movies and concerts are among the additional activities that fill up students weeks. The Atlantic Monthly previously reported that the average allowance is $236 a month for these and other expenses on this list.
8. Insurance - Some schools include insurance in the tuition price. But if not, youll need to make sure you are covered by another plan or can get insurance on you own.
9. Clothing - You may need to hit the shops throughout the year as the climate changes (especially if youre attending college in a different part of the country from your home) for snow gear or other weather-related items. Then other costs could include new outfits for sorority and fraternity formals, required attire if youre performing with groups on campus and just keeping up with fashion trends.
10. Tutoring fees - Students who are struggling in a class may need to seek assistance prior to tests, with group sessions offered or individual sessions offered by companies and individual tutors (and even online). Those session costs vary.