Male college student with backpack walking on campus

Top Hidden College Costs

by Kristin Smith

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



    Futon or couch     

    Vacuum (a must have!)    


    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/brain food – if they’re pulling an all-nighter before finals, they’ll need fuel for your brain

    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, pizza night with friends aren’t free.

Summer break

    Once the school year is complete, 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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