10 Major College Expenses

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Going to college is expensive. While tuition is the number that people focus on first, there’s also room and board, textbooks, groceries, school fees, summer storage, etc. All of these major college expenses add up fast, so it’s important to know what you will pay for first.

These are the most common yet major college expenses to be aware of when going to college. Start saving up money now.

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major college expenses


Tuition is your number one expense to handle.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to a public or private school, tuition is a major expense. Tuition fees can range often from roughly $10,000 to $40,000 or even more a year. The good thing is many schools have various financial aid options and scholarships available.

Room And Board

After tuition, room and board is your next big expense.

According to research, room and board costs can top $9,000 per year. If you attend a private institution or live off-campus in an apartment, then the costs can skyrocket to around $12,000 or more per year. Other costs you have to work include:

  • Food
  • Utilities
  • Extracurricular Activities

Textbooks And Supplies

Books and school supplies aren’t cheap either.

Your books and other necessary class supplies can run up to $1,200 or more, depending on courses. You’ll need to purchase:

  • Textbooks
  • Backpack
  • Notebooks
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Tablet (or Laptop)

The good news is you can offset costs by either buying used textbooks or selling new ones back.

Annual School Fees

These costs add up quick and are often overlooked.

School and activity fees you’ll be charged include:

  • Parking Stickers
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Gym Access
  • Cable TV
  • Sports Tickets

All of these costs are tacked on as additional ways for schools to cover overhead and make more money.

Internship And Job Attire

If you have to work during college, then you need to dress appropriately.

Students looking for work-study jobs or other part-time work need to interview for them. Interviews require you to look your best, and, unfortunately, looking your best will cost more money. Aim for professional-attire to make the best impression.

Studying Abroad

Study abroad programs bring a whole new level of costs.

If you can study abroad for school, consider it with the following points in mind:

  • Work-study is normally unavailable abroad
  • Visa requirements can prevent you from taking on outside work
  • Currency conversion fees can eat up your budget fast

Most students think about the fun without considering the heightened costs.

Extracurriculars And Greek Life

On-campus organizations require dues from you.

If you want to join a fraternity or sorority, then be ready to pay dues that can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per year.

These costs include various social events, pledging, and initiation. Also, if you join a sports team or club that isn’t subsidized by the school, then you can pay more money for transportation and equipment costs.

Summer Storage

If you’re not taking everything home, then you have to get storage space.

Unless you’re living at home during college, chances are you’ll have to travel far away. If so, then unless you’re taking the bare minimum along, you’ll have to get storage space.

Why? So you don’t have to haul all of your belongings home over summer vacation. Storage can get expensive, so condense your belongings to accommodate a smaller and cheaper storage space.

Car Maintenance

Cars don’t pay for themselves.

Many schools won’t allow freshmen to have cars on campus. However, if you live off-campus or are past freshman year, then you may be tempted to bring your own car. If you do, then you have to stack car maintenance costs:

  • Parking Fees
  • Gas
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance
  • Tickets

Again, you’re looking at least a few thousand dollars a year here.

Appropriate Weather Gear

Are you going to school in a warm or cold climate?

If you’re going to a colder climate from a warm one, then you need to dress appropriately. That means buying items including:

  • Winter Coat
  • Boots
  • Gloves
  • Scarf
  • Sweaters

Check and see what the average temperature is while you’re in class. If you need to buy cold-weather gear, then research ahead of time to find end-of-season sale deals.

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