Hidden College Costs | 08.15.11
High tuition prices are no surprise to many students and parents, and there are a variety of financial aid options to help cover the costs, including grants, loans and scholarships. What schools often fail to mention is the other costs of going to college. Unfortunately, there are many more expenses than just tuition, room and board, and books. Here are some of the most common hidden college costs that you should budget for.
Orientation – For most students, orientation only happens once, and it’s a good thing, too. Many traditional universities charge students who attend freshman orientation. Before you attend, make sure you know what your school expects from you financially and if you can afford it.
Dorm essentials – Freshman year will most likely be your most expensive year at college. This is because of all the first-time (and hopefully last-time) purchases you need to make. From extra-long bed sheets to shower caddies, the small essentials can really add up. Luckily, if you take care of your things, you should make it through college without having to re-buy anything.
Computer accessories – While most students do factor in a laptop, many forget to include the accessories in the budget. With the laptop also comes the warranty, case, flash drives, and other various software you may need for your coursework.
Health Insurance – Unless you are lucky enough to be on your parent’s insurance free of charge (for you), you may need to buy health insurance through the school. Whether it comes out of your pocket or your parents, make sure it’s accounted for beforehand.
Extracurricular fees – Clubs, sports, and Greek life provide great opportunities to meet new people and get involved, however, they can get expensive. While these programs usually get school funding, a lot of expenses still end up coming out of members’ pockets.
Damage charges – Hopefully you can avoid these fees, but at the end of the year, any damages in your dorm room (or even residence hall) can come out of your school funds. Some schools may take these directly from your account, but if not, you’ll need to come up with the money before you can register for the next semester!
Alcohol – While not on everyone’s college radar, for many students, alcohol can be a large expense they never accounted for. Whether you go to a local liquor store or out to a bar, alcohol can be an expensive addition to your college budget.
Transportation – If you get an internship or are a commuter, travel expenses can hit you hard. Between gas, car maintenance and insurance, it takes a lot of dough to keep you going places. Additionally, because parking on campus can be tight, students are also charged per year or semester for an on-campus parking permit.
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