Beyond University Tuition: The Hidden Costs of College

When considering how much it will cost to go to college, you must consider expenses you will have to pay in addition to your tuition. These are your non-tuition costs. Depending on which college you go to, the area the college is in, and whether or not you live on campus, your non-tuition costs may actually exceed the actual cost of your tuition. State universities, community colleges, and public universities often have lower tuition than private universities. However, each college has its own set of fees that they will charge you in addition to the tuition rate. In reality, tuition is just a small part of what it will cost you to go to college.

University Fees

The fees that are separate from your tuition in many cases will add up to a larger amount than your tuition. A university will charge you college fees, health insurance fees, infirmary fees, transportation fees, and technology fees. Exact rates will vary based on which college you go to. Often times, the more expensive the tuition is, the more expensive the rest of the fees are as well. If you go to a private university, you will have to pay some of the highest fees among colleges. Most universities have the option to waive the student health insurance if you already have insurance from another provider. However, that only knocks off $300-$500. If you become ill or injured, anything your insurance company doesn’t pay, you will have to pay out of pocket.

Textbook Prices

The downside of college is that the professor does not provide you with a textbook like teachers in high school do. You must purchase the required textbook for each course you are taking each semester. Textbooks are not included in your tuition. If you are taking five courses, you will mostly likely have to buy at least five textbooks at around $100, sometimes more. That is over $500 per semester. An entire academic year is two semesters, so you will be paying an extra $1000 or more each year for college in addition to your tuition and college fees. Most colleges allow students to take a maximum of 18 or 19 credits, so if you are taking more than five courses, you will be paying even more.

Living Expenses

Whether you are living on-campus or off-campus, you will still have to pay for your living expenses. If you are living on-campus, you will have to pay for room and board, a meal plan, your shampoo and conditioner, soap, school supplies, and any other items you will need for the semester. If you live off-campus, you will have to pay for rent, utilities, food, laundry, gas, and a car. It is much cheaper if you use public transportation and you are close enough to your college to live at home. However, that is not always the case. Colleges provide transportation to places on-campus, but they don’t provide you will transportation to and from your house.

Tuition is not the only thing you have to pay for in order to go to college. The non-tuition costs of going to college are usually far more expensive than the tuition itself. State universities’ tuition can cost as low as $3,000. However, most of the time just the room and board cost of that college is more expensive than the tuition.

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