When college-bound students and their parents begin saving for higher education, it is easy to assume that the only thing that needs to be paid for is the tuition, room, and board.

While you may have even budgeted for things like laundry and the cell phone bill, many college students and their parents find out the hard way that they don’t have enough to cover the hidden costs.

Below are a few of those costs you may have overlooked and how to be prepared financially.

Lab Fees

Whether you’re a student at one of the renowned fashion schools in New York or an ivy league school on the coast of California you will be required to pay lab fees for certain classes. For instance, a student taking chemistry will not only require a lab fee but a white coat fee as well. An art student on the other hand might require a lab fee if they’ve registered for a class that requires special materials and equipment. This can add an extra $50 to a course.

Electronic Devices

Unlike when you were in grade school and were supplied expensive materials like computers and laptops, college students are financially responsible for purchasing their own devices. As different classes may have different requirements, you may need a laptop and a tablet or mobile device to keep up with the class. This obviously would incur several thousands of dollars you weren’t budgeting for.

Greek Dues and Social Fees

If you plan on joining a fraternity or sorority you can expect to spend several hundred dollars per year in dues and fees. The same is also true for any other college activities. Those who plan to play sports, join clubs, or other organizations within their university are often asked to pay annual fees and dues to keep the groups running.

Transportation Costs

Whether a student is staying on campus or commuting daily the cost of transportation needs to be considered. Students who own cars have to consider the cost of gas and maintenance. Students who do not have a car will need to consider costs of public transportation in the area.

Student Loans

While most student loans aren’t required to be repaid until after graduation, there are some loans that prefer the students to pay towards the accrued interest each year. Depending on the size of the loan and the number of years you intend to be in college this can add up to a lot of money.


Want to minimize the burden of those hidden costs? Here are a few solutions:

  • Buy used as often as possible – When purchasing electronic equipment, furniture, clothing, and the like, start by shopping for used items to save money.
  • Consider work study – work study programs allow students to obtain a part-time job on campus. They are provided with a stipend that is generally put towards additional costs of education. Check with your school of choice to find out what work study options are available.
  • Consider a side hustle – There are a lot of resources available for college students to start their own side business. Generating some income online can help you to cover some of those expenses.
  • Look into scholarships – You should always keep an eye out for the opportunity to apply for a scholarship. Scholarships are free funds awarded to qualifying students for college and college related expenses.
  • Make payments – When it comes to student loans the sooner you start making payments the better. Even making payments on the interest each month can save you a lot of money in the long run.

The college experience is unlike any other educational experience you’ve ever had. Seeing as how this experience can cost a lot over the next four years it is important to plan and be prepared. As the time comes nearer to enroll, make sure that you’re prepared to handle the tuition, room and board, and additional expenses when heading off to college.

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