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As parents budget and create financial plans for their children to attend college, few are aware that there are hidden fees and costs at every turn. Not only has college tuition risen in the last few years, but the number and amount of additional fees has increased as well.
According to SmartMoney.com, these fees can encompass charges for technology services, orientations, library usage and activities students might not even attend. Parents are encouraged to not only speak with a financial counselor at the college or university their child is attending, but also to plan for the unexpected. This means budgeting an additional 10 percent of the annual tuition costs to cover those hidden fees. And to help parents identify these fees, there is a list below of the most common unforeseen costs in higher education.
One of the first and most surprising hidden fees (cost) is for student orientations. Some schools hold these orientations for freshman students, transfer students, parents, and even senior students. They can be one daylong seminar, or an entire weekend of events. To help recoup some of their costs associated with these orientations, many colleges have begun to charge for the events, rather than offering them gratis for students and parents. Because the nature of these orientations can vary, so will the price. The best thing for parents to do is judge the necessity of attendance, consult a school official, and find out if there is an early registration discount.
Another hidden fee (cost) that many parents and students do not consider while making their budget is a charge for on-campus parking. Students that own vehicles and drive to school daily will more than likely be required to purchase a parking permit. These permits can cost students between $400 and $600 a year. It’s important to understand that many colleges and universities employ their own parking enforcement units, which patrol campuses looking for parking violators and issue parking tickets. These tickets can range in price, but will definitely add up over time.
Sports fees is another hidden cost many parents are unaware of. For students interested in playing intramural sports, fees will definitely be incurred. These sports are not sanctioned by the universities, so they require student funding for survival. Generally, these costs range from $100 to $200 a semester. Also, students that attend large universities will incur athletic fees in support of the athletic programs. Large National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I schools might charge students upwards of $1,000 a year to help maintain the athletic teams.
It’s important for parents and students to do as much research as possible into the hidden costs of attending college. While some of these fees are situational, whether a student joins a Greek organization or drives to campus daily, others will affect all students and can be quite burdensome. Understanding as much about college fees as possible will help parents create the most sound and complete budget possible.