College’s hidden costs: your students should keep these costs in mind when factoring what college will cost them

When your students are evaluating colleges with their parents, they use the College’s tuition costs to try and estimate what a given college will cost them. Most colleges spell these costs out so they can do an apples to apples comparison of each school. However, there are many other costs affiliated with going to college that can throw a monkey wrench into the best laid plans if they aren’t properly planned for.

The real costs of college are not for the meek of heart or weak of wallet. What most colleges post on their websites as the estimated “cost of attendance” is typically focused on tuition, room and board and books. Additional costs can run from $250 to $500 per month and should also be budgeted and planned for.

These include:

Transportation: If your student is taking their vehicle with them to college they need to account for on-campus parking fees(which are typically high), gas, routine maintenance, and any parking tickets they may accrue. If they don’t take a vehicle they will need to account for any Uber charges to get around town and transportation home one or two times per semester.

Mandatory fees: Most colleges require students to pay a laundry list of mandatory fees each semester, which are seriously consequential when added together. Both my kids are in college and this is no joke. These fees add up to several thousand dollars per semester (technology fee, sports center fee(whether they use it or not), etc.)

Off-campus food: Sure they have a meal plan at school but lets be honest, the food can get old. They are going to want to eat off-campus occasionally. This cost should be factored into the budget.

Computer: Few costs can take the bite out of a budget like having to buy a new computer, but much of their work and research will be done on their computer so the latest and greatest will be needed. With technology changing so quickly they may even need two during their college career.

Expensive majors: Some majors cost more than others. Art majors will likely need to pay hundreds of additional dollars for materials each semester. Majors in chemistry and physics will likely have costly lab fees. And some performing arts majors will have to pay extra for studio or practice room time.

Greek life: Does your students want to join a fraternity or sorority? They are a great way to make life long friendships but they are expensive. Those monthly dues add up.

Spring break: If your student going to want to go on a spring break trip each year? This is a rite of passage for many students and peer pressure can cause them to try and take a trip each Spring even if they can’t afford it.

The key is to make sure your students and their parents realize that tuition and room & board aren’t the only costs to factor in when considering colleges. Being prepared and planning are the keys!

These tips were gleaned from an article published by the Washington Post. Here is the link: