Parking and Transportation Unless you plan on walking or riding your bike to classes, you will have to think about where you are going to park your car while you’re in class each day. Be warned that it can cost a few hundred dollars per semester to secure an on-campus parking permit. You also need to consider travel costs, finding out not only how much it will cost to get to class from your dorm or apartment, but also the price of plane tickets or road trips when traveling home on school vacations and holidays.
Computer and Related Equipment When you are at college, you will most likely need at least a computer and a printer to prepare your course assignments for submission in the privacy of your own home. Also consider the convenience of in-home internet service, as many courses require students to participate in discussions or submit assignments online. Some courses even require specialized software to complete coursework, ultimately costing a significant amount of money.
Tutoring Fees If you encounter a tough math or science class and find that you need additional assistance in preparing a paper or studying for exams, you may choose to join an individual or group tutoring session. Costs of tutoring sessions will vary, so keep in mind that attending multiple tutoring sessions quickly add up.
Materials and Facility Use Some students mistakenly assume that tuition costs cover everything, not knowing that you could be charged additional fees when you enroll in many popular college courses. Whenever you use school laboratories, fitness facilities, and even wireless internet, fees are most likely being applied somewhere to accommodate. To learn more about course material fees, call the department offering the course to find out the possible costs and accordingly adjust your budget. You can also call the registrar or bursar’s office to request a complete list of fees for facility usage.
Activity and Student Group Membership Fees Many colleges and universities include fees to cover the costs of attending on-campus events. If you decide to pledge a fraternity or sorority or participate in Greek events, the costs can also be very high at some schools. If you join other student organizations you will also need to pay for other activities and events throughout the year.
Back-to-School Supplies Just as in grade school, you will need back-to-school supplies for college courses. While you can probably skip the pouch for holding your milk money, stock up on paper, folders, highlighters, pens, and other traditional items.
Insurance Some colleges actually include health insurance in the price of tuition. Check with your college regarding insurance options. If you are not one of the lucky ones, make sure you are covered by your parents’ plan or an independent plan.
Food Budget Most schools offer some type of optional meal plan to be factored into tuition costs. If you don’t opt for the meal plan, you will need to account for food costs.
Phone As a student, you will probably be able to get by with just a cell phone and forget the land line. Still, monthly fees (including texting and internet) can quickly add up and should definitely be taken in consideration.
Entertainment Be sure to factor in entertainment costs, such as football games and movies, when you need a well-earned break from studying.
Housing Items If you are planning on living in a dorm, you will probably want to liven up your living space and make it feel like home, especially if this is your first time living on your own. Housewarming items you might want to splurge on include bedding, rugs, a mini-fridge, coffee maker, blender, cleaning items, and personal hygiene items.
Housing Utilities If you want cable television or Internet service available in your college dorm or apartment, the costs will quickly add up. Remember that apartments do not always include utility costs in the price of rent, requiring you to pay for water, electricity, and trash.
Clothing Your wardrobe will need to change along with the weather, so you will need adequate clothing, including boots, mittens, winter coats, and sweaters. Many colleges and student organizations also organize formal and semi-formal events throughout the year. A nice dress or a suit may be required for those attending.
Laundry If you are not housed in a dorm offering on-site laundry privileges, you will need to wash your clothing at least a few times a month at a local laundromat. While the cost of a few dollars a month may seem negligible now, even small fees can quickly add up over time.
Unpaid Summer Internships If you decide to stay on campus for an unpaid internship or related program, you will add three months to annual living expenses.
Now that you’ve read this article you can start budgeting and planning for college more wisely!