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The True Cost of College

It’s no surprise the cost of tuition, room and board are on the rise – but are you planning for the “other” expenses associated with higher ed?

Books – Textbooks can add up to shocking totals, even for just a few classes, but there’s no way to get around them. To save money, purchase e-versions for your Kindle or iPad, try online retailers ( for older versions (if approved by the professor). Sharing books is always an option, but it can get tricky. After the semester is done, get more for your books by selling them online vs. selling back to the bookstore.

Fees – Many universities charge miscellaneous fees for use of their athletic facilities, libraries, funding student clubs, etc. To be safe, ask your admissions counselors about these fees on the front end so the bill isn’t a surprise.

Transportation – Parking on campus is rare cheap. Think long and hard before you decide you “need” a car at school. In between the cost of parking, car payment, insurance, gas and maintenance, it can cost more than you’re making at that off campus job.  Sure it’s great to have the freedom, but it also means you’ll be playing taxi for your friends. Look into getting a bike (with a sturdy bike lock), a monthly public transportation pass or a good pair of shoes.

Daily Needs – Sure the dining hall has your meals and the dorm gives you a place to sleep, but what about those “other” expenses? Entertainment, like movies, bowling or going out for a meal all needed to be taken into account. To be safe, work with your parents to set a budget and stick with it! There’s nothing worse than graduating with student loans and credit card debt hanging over your head.

4+ Years – It might not surprise you, but it’s not always the norm to graduate in just four years. Many programs require internships or other credits that can take students in the five or even six years at school. Ask your admissions counselor what’s the average for your potential program of study. You might need to reevaluate your financial situation accordingly.

These categories aren't meant to be intimidating, we know the cost of going to school is far exceeded by the benefits in the education and training you recieve while you're there. If you're concerned about covering all of these expenses, never fear! We’ll cover all of your opportunities for financial aid next week! In the meantime, start that budget!

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