Plan For College

Thursday, October 27, 2011

7 College Fees You Didn't Plan On

Most parents and students are aware of the basic college costs like: tuition, room, and board.

However, when the first bill is sent home many parents are surprised with other expenses that they were not counting on. There are unadvertised fees that families were not aware of.  Since most colleges are strapped for cash, many are continually looking for ways to collect additional money from students and their parents.

Below is a list of overlooked college costs:


1) Activity Fees: $250 to $350
At many colleges and universities extracurricular activities on campus looks like they are free.  However, many of these activity costs are included in the billing sent home to the parents to help pay for items like student newspapers, recreation center,  student body fee for support of on-campus student organizations and activities like dances.

2) Freshman orientation: $100 to $215
Normally most freshman must participate in an orientation process.  Most colleges charge additional fees for opening dorms early, guest speakers, and even orientation parties.

3) Technology: $130 to $445 
In the past, computer labs were free of cost.  However, this is no longer true.  Many students will be charged anywhere from $130 to $445 in additional fees to cover maintenance, ink and paper.  If your student is more tech-oriented they could pay even more.

4) Sports: $200 to $1,000
Most college athletes are paid to play college athletics in the form of scholarships.  However, if your student participates in amateur athletic events they will have to pay to play.  These sports are not covered by the college’s athletic department; therefore the cost of participating is absorbed by the sport participants.  A USSA spokesman said, “If your child isn’t the athletic type, you may still have to pay $1,000 or more to support a school’s athletic program – especially if it’s in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s top division.

5) Greek life: $2,000 or more
At many colleges, new Greek member dues average up to $1,753.  Student that elect to live in a fraternity or sorority house will pay on the average $2,987 each year, including meal plans. These cost are in addition to the other costs of attending the college or university.

6) Health care: $30 to $2,400
According to the Government Accountability Office, more than half of colleges offer insurance plans, with annual premiums from $30 to $2,400.

7) Parking: $400 to $600
Many students elect to commute to college classes instead of living in the campus dormitories.  This will save money in most situations.  However, this potential savings will be reduced by paying on-campus parking fees.  Another cost that many students will face is receiving a parking ticket.  If the ticket is not paid, the college could hold diplomas.

In order to address these potential additional costs it is wise to budget an additional 5% to 10% of the tuition bill to cover these unforeseen costs.




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