9 College Costs You Forgot to Budget For
1. Visits home or visiting your student
If your student does not go to college near home, visiting for the weekend or the holidays may add up, especially if they have to fly home. You may also want to visit your student at school for a Family Weekend or a home football game. In this case, you will need to budget for transportation to get there as well as any hotel or dining costs.
If your student chooses to bring a car to school, they will likely have to pay a parking fee. The cost of parking will vary across colleges but it can be anything from a $25 city or street pass or as much as an $800 fee to park in a lot or garage on some campuses.
3. School supplies
On average, textbooks and supplies add an additional $1,200 a year to your college costs. However, that number can change drastically depending on your student's major or what store you purchase from. Your student may also need supplies like a laptop, a printer, software, notebooks or flash cards. Buying textbooks at used bookstores or online, renting textbooks for the semester or getting a refurbished computer can help cut down on these costs.
4. Extracurricular activities
When your student gets involved in extracurricular activities, this can cause unforeseen expenses, especially if they join a sorority or fraternity. Sororities can be upwards of $1,000 per semester and fraternities, while generally less expensive, can be several hundred dollars per semester. Other organizations may have club dues, costs to buy club t-shirts or fees to participate in certain club-sponsored events.
5. Living expenses
Even if you've purchased a meal plan, your student may still need to go to the grocery store for cleaning supplies, toiletries, snacks or coffee. They will also need money for laundry, which could cost a few dollars per load. Transportation should also be taken into consideration. Your student may need to purchase a subway or bus pass to get around campus.
If your student is moving across the country or to a place with a different climate, they may need to make a few new clothing purchases. Items like rain boots, a warm winter coat or a few new outfits might be helpful if your student will be adjusting to a new climate.
7. Dorm room items
Items like bedding, dishes, storage bins and a shower caddy may be helpful for getting your student organized and settled into their new home. Your student may also want to take a microwave or TV to college, but it's possible your child's roommate can split these costs.
Students may want to spend some of their money on entertainment, like TV or music streaming services, going out to eat, concerts or sporting events. However, they can save money by using free streaming services or taking part in free school-sponsored events.
9. Class fees/testing fees
Some classes will require an additional fee on top of tuition to use equipment. This happens particularly with science labs or art and music classes. Depending on when your student will take professional level exams or even graduate school admissions, this could also cost a couple hundred dollars. Some schools may also require an additional payment for tutoring services.