Three college costs you didn’t know existed

Mila Kellam and Mia Imbernino

For many parents of upcoming graduating seniors, the looming issue of how they will pay for their children’s college is a serious thing to consider. Parents need to be ready for all of the unforeseen costs that come with college. The average in-state student at a public four–year school spends just 39% of their total budget on tuition and fees, according to the College Board. The rest goes towards covering all the little extras that can add up.

Cost Number 1: Off-Campus living expenses. After about a year of living on campus, students can find their own home or apartment off campus. With that comes first month’s deposit, monthly rent, utilities such as gas and electricity, renter’s insurance, transportation and car insurance. You’re correct; the list does go on and on!

Cost Number 2: Textbooks. It’s a love and hate relationship with the majority of college students. Textbooks are essential but often come with a HUGE price tag, new or used. The average cost of a single textbook during the 2016-2017 academic year was a whopping $67, according to the National Association of College Stores. Each college student needs around seven books for all of their annual classes. Ultimately that adds up to about $469, leaving your bank account in the red. Reminder: Don’t buy a book until you’re positive that it’s the one you will need! Lastly, college students are able to buy used books on Amazon for a much cheaper price.

Cost Number 3: Travel! This constitutes one of the most significant things if you go to school a billion miles away from your hometown.  The farther you move from your home state, the more money! It is a good idea for parents and students to redeem their flying rewards to save money on traveling. Shop around for the lowest credit card and make sure it has a sturdy reward program. It’s also important to pay attention to the timing of the flight.  If your travel time is during spring break, winter break and any other important holiday season, make sure to buy plane tickets way ahead of time – emphasis on way. The last thing you want to do is sleep in the airport a day before Christmas.

Paying for college can bring financial headaches, anxiety and stress. Having a plan in place for dealing with the unforeseen costs can make it less stressful. A set budget can be a helpful guide when struggling with the tremendous cost of college. Take a deep breath, and hopefully, you don’t end up with letters from your bank telling you… you’re broke.