Consumer Tip: Watch Out for Hidden College Costs

Budgeting for college expenses can be overwhelming, but what makes the experience even worse is finding out that you may have missed some of the hidden costs of a college education. Take note of these five not-so-obvious costs so you’ll never be fooled again:

Moving and Storage: If your student will move from on-campus housing to off-campus digs, or if certain items must be placed in storage (if stowing at your residence is not an option), prepare to dole out big bucks to store your student’s belongings.

Parking fees: Parking and registration fees and permits are an issue if your student is bringing a vehicle to campus. And with parking comes the risk of tickets. If you’re not mindful, this can get costly.

Joining a fraternity or sorority: Students and parents should be aware that joining a Greek organization typically means costs will be incurred at the beginning of the semester and then again in an “active member” capacity at the beginning of each new school year. Prices vary by institution, but it is important to remember that fees do not include housing, only membership.

Trips back home: When college students live close enough to return home for a visit or a quick laundry chore, remember to tally such visits up in the budget. Gas isn’t cheap, so visits can get pricy. Even if your student goes by bus, plane, or train, you should factor this into your budget as a very real expense.