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Young man walking on campus
College costs more than just the tuition.
posted in: Financial Wellness
by Kristin Smith

Top hidden college costs

Student organization fees

  • If they’re going Greek, find out the average cost for a year and get an itemized list of all costs so there are less surprises
  • Student run clubs – sports programs, debate clubs, philanthropy organizations and more may have costs associated with them

Parking fees        

  • If they’ll have a car on campus, a parking permit can range from $100 to $1000/year   
  • Parking tickets add up quickly and some colleges turn them over to collection agencies if they go unpaid


  • Whether they travel by train, plane, bus, or car, coming home over breaks or visiting friends at other schools can get pricey
  • Public transportation to get around campus or town is something that’s easily overlooked


  • Unless they live close enough to take their laundry home on the weekends, they’ll not only be doing it on their own, they’ll be paying around $12/week

Household items

  • Toothpaste, toilet paper, shaving cream, tissues – none of these things last forever and will have to be replaced

Dorm room necessities

  • Mini-fridge       
  • Microwave     
  • Futon or couch     
  • Vacuum (a must have!)    
  • TV     
  • DVD/Blu-ray player     
  • Cable or subscription to streaming service


  • Meal plan – check into what’s included, some meal plans work at restaurants that are close to campus too
  • Late night snacks – if they’re pulling an all-nighter before finals, they’ll need brain food
  • Coffee – they may find a cozy little coffee shop to study in, but those lattes add up.

Social life

  • Making new friends is an important part of the college experience but movies, dinners and pizza night with friends aren’t free

Summer break

  • Kids might stay near campus in an apartment, pack up their belongings and head home, or rent a storage unit for their things so they can travel home with a lighter load

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