College’s Hidden Costs Loom Large

College’s Hidden Costs Loom Large
  • Opening Intro -

    The cost of college is rising, but lurking beneath the obvious tuition and room and board costs are a number of fees, expenses that must be taken into consideration as students prepare to enroll in school.


Miscellaneous fees students may not be able to avoid.

College costs fluctuate and are largely dependent upon student aid. However, there are many fees involved which are not negotiable, expenses such as the following which can add up:

Parking permits

– Many schools do not allow freshmen to bring cars on campus. For everyone else, the option to park comes with a price, a fee that is usually charged by the semester and can cost students hundreds of dollars.


– Access to modern technology comes with a price, one that colleges require students to bear. You may be able to gain online access around campus, but the cost of connecting to the world wide web is one charge you’ll have to pay for. Still, fees may be considerably less than what you pay at home, presenting a relative bargain, but a cost nonetheless.


– Take a science course and you’ll be hit with a fee to cover lab costs. Those fees can vary greatly, ranging from about $50 to hundreds of dollars per class if you’ll be working with complex materials.

Health & Wellness

– The college medical clinic is busy treating students for strep throat, sinus infections and a host of other ailments. Though your family’s insurance may cover the cost of your visits minus a deductible, the clinic itself needs additional funding from all students. That fee may be charged by the semester and will be added to your tuition bill.


– You chose your school for its academics, but it wasn’t lost on you that the football team is one of the best in the nation. With an 80,000 seat stadium, a year ’round practice field and a multimillion dollar coaching staff, alumni funds only go so far. You may not be paying for the football program directly, but you are helping to underwrite everything from volleyball to fencing regardless of whether you participate in sports or not.

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

– You’ve come to college with some work experience under your belt, which means you can test to have some of your credits awarded following testing. These tests, known as CLEP, will cost you money, a fee you pay for each exam whether you receive a passing score or not.


– If you add or drop a class after the semester starts, you may be assessed a fee. If you drop out for a semester and reapply, expect to pay a reapplication fee. Administrative fees can be charged for a multitude of services from obtaining transcripts to housing application to a fee you must pay to graduate. Special fees also exist for international students and for students seeking master’s and doctorate level degrees.

Can fees be avoided? Generally not. Which means that understanding these costs and adding potential expenses in to your college budget will help you be prepared, avoiding a nasty surprise later on.


State Press; The Hidden Costs of College Are Adding Up; Katherine Torres; July 4, 2011

UCLA: Miscellaneous Fees

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Categories: College Budgeting