The Hidden Costs And Fees Of College Education

By Michael Diaz. May 7th 2016

The cost of higher education is constantly on rise. In fact, some experts suggest that the cost of college increases by five percent each year. This statistic has many parents and students concerned. However, many parents and students focus too much on the cost of tuition and not enough on the hidden or lesser known expenses that come with a college education. Get educated on these hidden costs and fees and you won’t be surprised when it’s time to head to college.

Application Fees

Although you pay these before you arrive at college, application fees are required from most institutions of higher learning. The total amount you have to pay will depend on the amount of schools you apply to and the application fee charged at each institution. It is important to note that many colleges and universities offer application fee waivers for students that have trouble paying the fees. If you think you might qualify for this assistance, contact the admissions office of each school that you apply to for more information.

Travel To And From School

Many schools close down the campus during the winter holidays and require that students leave. If you live on campus that closes during this time, you might have to pay for transportation back to your family’s house. This can be costly, especially during the holiday season.

In addition, many students want to visit their families and friends during the school year. Trips to and from school can be pricy.


Unless you want to have no social life at college (this is not recommended), you will need money for entertainment purposes. Going out to eat, going to movies, attending concerts and going shopping are just a few of the many activities that college students enjoy. Make sure that you budget for these fun activities. Keep in mind that many colleges and universities offer free or subsidized entertainment opportunities to their students. Save yourself some money by taking advantage of these.


Many students take advantage of tutoring to help them excel in their academics. However, unless free tutoring is available, you will have to pay for this. First inquire about free or discounted tutoring. Then shop around to get the best deal. It’s always a good idea to ask professors and friends for recommendations.


If you commute to and from campus, you will have to pay for the costs of transportation. If you own a car, these costs will include insurance, gas, car registration and maintenance. If you take public transportation, you will have to pay a fee each time you commute. It’s a good idea to look into student discounts and monthly passes if you are going to use public transportation. If you own a car, consider carpooling with others to save on gas.

Lab Fees

Many classes charge separate fees to students for the use of equipment. This is particularly true of science classes that have separate lab meetings. A number of performing arts classes also have lab fees. It might be wise to investigate which classes charge additional fees before registering for your classes.


The costs of college textbooks can be astronomical, especially if you purchase them from your college bookstore. For example, the total cost for one year of books can reach $1,000 or more. The best way to save money on your books is to buy them online or from other students. Make sure that you thoroughly shop around for the best deal. It can end up saving you thousands of dollars over four years.

School Supplies

Computers, notebooks, writing utensils and desk lamps are just a few of the common school supplies that you will need to pay for. Additionally, living supplies such as sheets and blankets are also essential. Make a list of all the necessarily school supplies and then shop around for the best deal.

Car And Parking

Many colleges and universities charge students who bring cars onto campus. Common fees include a vehicle registration fee and a parking permit fee. If you are planning to bring your car to school, you  might want to look into free parking that is near campus.

Now that you know these hidden costs and fees associated with attending college, you can get a head start on saving for them. Kick start your college savings plan today and you won’t have to sweat when the college bills start rolling in.

More in category

Related Content