8 Unexpected College Costs to Prepare For

By Alyssa Laffitte on October 4, 2018

College is the most expensive investment you will make in your life. Some of these expenses are planned, like tuition, room, and board. But others, like printing, might not be unexpected. Here are some unexpected college costs you should prepare for!

Image via Isorepublic.com

1. Security deposits

When you start college, you will likely be moving into a new place. However, one of the biggest unexpected costs is your security deposit for your new living situation. If you take good care of your place, you should receive your deposit back in full at the end of the year. But it’s hard when you are about to move in and you have to pay not only the rent, but an additional fee. The amount of this deposit can vary widely, so if you would like to plan ahead for your security deposit, get in touch with your future landlord and ask them how much the deposit is. If you know how much it is, you will be able to plan for it.

2. Travel fees

Traveling, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas, is extremely expensive. (Yes, it’s definitely more expensive than you would think!) When you consider your plane ticket, transportation to and from the airport, baggage fees, food, and in-flight entertainment, you can end up paying a lot more than you planned to. To lessen the blow to your finances, try to arrange your holiday travels well in advance. Tickets are generally less expensive if you buy them a couple of weeks in advance. You can expect your finances to take a hit during the holiday season because of travel. Plan to save up money now so that you’ll have enough to buy your plane or train ticket home!

3. Additional tuition fees

You should definitely pay attention to your bill! Definitely look at it well before it is due so that you have time to dispute any charges. You might be able to waive some of the charges listed on your tuition bill. For example, if you are under your parents’ insurance, you might be able to waive your school’s insurance fee. However, there are some additional fees listed on your bill that you might not be exempt from, so you will have to plan for those expenses, too. For example, when I was an undergraduate student, I had to pay a “student activities fee” that was not included in tuition. When you receive your tuition bill, know that it might be a little more than you expected.

4. Textbooks

It’s no secret that college textbooks are ridiculously expensive. Still, students pay more than they expected to on them, especially if they buy them from the campus bookstore. Rather than buying a fresh new book from the bookstore, I would recommend looking at online retailers like Amazon or Chegg. Online retailers are cheaper because their books are often gently used, and they will allow you to rent them (meaning, they can take the books off your hands after the semester is over, so you don’t have to keep the book in your bookshelf if you no longer need it). In college, textbooks can be an unexpected cost, keep this cost low by ordering your books online!

5. Access codes

Along the same lines, access codes might cost you a lot of money, too. Some professors might make you buy an access code so you can do your homework online. These codes can cost anywhere from $35-$150. Unfortunately, there is no way around this one.

6. Parking and transportation

Whether or not you drive, transportation can be a source of unexpected expenses in college. If you don’t drive, you might still have to pay for a bus pass and the occasional Uber. If you do drive, you will have to pay for insurance and a parking spot at your school. Parking spaces in college are a luxury, so you will have to pay quite a sum for it. They sell out quickly, too, so buy your parking spot before they are gone! Even if you don’t drive, plan to budget some money for transportation.

7. Printing

The cost of printing can vary greatly from school to school. Some schools might let you print for free, others for a small fee, and others will give you only a certain amount of prints for free (after that, you will have to pay to print). Because of this, printing can be an unexpected cost. Figure out how your school’s printing system works. If printing is too expensive, consider buying your own printer, paper, and ink. That might end up being cheaper in the long run!

8. Student organization dues

Some student organizations, such as sororities and fraternities, require members to pay dues. This is not something many people think about when they join student organizations, and it becomes an unexpected cost. If you are planning on joining a student organization, figure out how much it costs before committing to it.

Yes, college is super expensive. Some of these costs will be unexpected. But if you save as much money as you can, and if you plan ahead as best as you can, you should be just fine.

23, ISFJ. Biology student. College lifestyle blogger. Avid reader and writer. Dog lover. Nerd. Boyband enthusiast. Superhero in training. Here to help you become the best you can be!

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