College Education Costs Often Overlooked

College costs money, regardless of the educational institution attending. By the time you add up tuition, books, parking, room, board, and other standard expenses, the amount of money being spent on college can be significant. Fortunately, between personal money, government grants, private donations, scholarships, and loans, there is a way to get through. However, the one thing that is important to know is that sometimes, important items get missed.

The key to paying for college is to understand all expenses, small and big. That way, when preparing a budget and planning for the future after earning the degree, you find yourself on solid ground. One of the most common mistakes is that people will plan for college using the known expenses only to end up in a financial mess because of costs of college that are overlooked. We wanted to provide some of those items so when you get ready to go to college you know the exact amount of money needed with no unpleasant surprises.

While some costs of college that are often overlooked are necessary, the truth is that thousands of dollars are spent each year on things that would be considered luxury. Because the cost of earning a college education is high already, it is imperative to understand where your money goes, thereby making it much easier to follow a budget.


Today, colleges and universities have security. While sad that security is mandatory, it does reduce some level of stress when going to a brick and mortar educational institution. If you plan to attend a college or university with a strong security presence, it would be worth asking how that affects your costs. Obviously, the money invested in security has to come from somewhere and as you can imagine, the expense is typically built into tuition. While you certainly want good security, you should also take the time to learn the impact on your budget.

Miscellaneous Fees

Many students do not realize until they receive the bill that a variety of fees are tacked onto classes, lab time, student activities, library usage, and more. When choosing a college or university, you have the right and responsibility to ask the counselor or admissions office about incidental fees. Again, with this information, you can create a good working budget. Some of these fees are minimal but when you start adding up the list of fees, the low cost quickly adds up.

Transportation and Parking

If you plan to take your vehicle to college, then expect to pay parking to keep your car on campus. Whether you live on campus or in an off-campus apartment, driving to classes would require a parking permit. If you leave the car off campus, then you would need to add in the cost of public transportation. Now, most colleges and universities are accessible by bus but again, this small expense when added to other small expenses quickly becomes a serious budget buster.

Sororities and Fraternities

Often, people choose to join a sorority or fraternity, which offers a number of benefits such as making new friends, getting involved with a number of activities, and even security by living in a large home with other students. However, being a part of a sorority or fraternity also comes at a price. To be a member while not living in the home, you would be required to pay dues, which typically range anywhere from $200 to $500. Then, to live in the sorority or fraternity house, the cost increases. In addition to this, when getting involved with various group activities, the cost would be even higher.


To get the most out of your college experience, you want to be in a position that upon graduating, you would be far more marketable for the career path chosen. To accomplish this, you would want to get involved with one or more professional memberships. While this would pay off in the long run, it also means paying dues as high as $600 a year.


Another cost of college that is often overlooked is the expense associated with internships. For many majors, an internship provides the opportunity to experience things first hand. Not only does this confirm you are taking the best major but it prepares you for the career after you earn the college degree. In many cases, an internship counts as credit hours but it also means paying out money. Even if the internship itself costs nothing, more than likely you would be required to wear certain clothing, and you would be responsible for buying lunch, and so on. For this, you simply need to know the actual cost connected with an internship so you can include it in the budget.

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