Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hidden College Expenses

Going to college is an exciting time for students and their families. Even the most financially prepared students are met with unexpected college expenses and incidentals that could throw the first year college budget off. The following are a list of possible hidden expenses that could add as much as 10 percent on anticipated college costs.

1. Parking fees are often left off the budget but if the student lives on campus, there will be monthly parking fees in order to store the vehicle. Additionally, daily parking fees could cost as much as five dollars per day. Overall, parking fees could add as much as $1,000 or more to the annual budget.

2. Many colleges and universities have realized the value that can be added by offering online and distance learning course options. In order to take advantage of these courses, many students will realize there is a cost associated with the convenience in the form of technology fees.

3. Many campus dormitories provide access to computers and printers but many students prefer to use their own computers so they can complete assignments within their own timeframe. In order to be fully functional, a computer as well as printer will be needed. In addition to the cost of the computer and printer, the cost of ink cartridges, paper and maintenance should be budgeted.

4. Many campuses include student union fees as part of tuition costs so these fees are often paid within even realizing there is such a fee. However, there may be additional fees associated with events held by the student union and on campus student organizations. Student identification cards are also typically required to enjoy discounts on campus; many retailers in close proximity to the college may also offer deals for students, so a student identification card is a must. Many institutions provide the first student id for free, but charge a nominal fee for replacements.

5. College sports programs can add anywhere from $1000 to $1500 to the college budget. Students who play on college athletic teams are typically required to pay more than students participating in intramural sporting activities. Students who do not play for their college, but would like to show school spirit and support the home team will need to prepare for the expense of attending games. Although discounts are typically offered to students and alumni, tickets to college sporting events can cost as much as $10 or more per game.

6. College sororities and fraternities are a great way for students to be part of a network and build lasting relationships. Joining or pledging a fraternity can have costs associated with it. These expenses, especially if students live at the fraternity or sorority house, can cost as much as $2,000 per school year.

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