Studies show that the majority of students worry about college expenses and costs. It’s no surprise because attending university or college is nothing short of expensive! Education costs in the United States are on the rise in recent years, but the expenses do not end there. Many students also worry more about living expenses than tuition fees.
It is smart, therefore, to plan and anticipate your expenses way ahead of time. Setting a budget for everything while you attend a college or university can make your college journey a lot easier financially!
Let’s talk more about the most common (and biggest!) college expenses:
Tuition and Fees
Tuition tops the list of college expenses. Did you know that tuition starts from $10,000 for in-state colleges and can go as high as $40,000 for private universities? Make sure you understand how tuition and fees work in private and public colleges, and learn the differences between in-state and out-of-state rates! You can qualify for financial aid opportunities for college students; however, you may still be asked to pay for other fees or expenses.
Room and Board
Before considering anything else, decide whether or not you will be staying on- or off-campus. You can compare the costs of both options. Several colleges accommodate students with meals and other inclusions. You can also choose to rent a nearby place, but make sure you take the other costs into account, including your food expenses and utilities.
Both living options offer different perks. Living on-campus may be a bit costly, but you can pick packages with cheaper inclusions. Living off-campus may be a cheaper option, too. However, it would help if you considered things like having a roommate, paying for summer rentals, and making security deposits. Room and board and related expenses can range anywhere between $9,000 and $12,000 annually!
Your transportation costs may seem negligible at first, but it can ruin your budget! Typically, you spend much less for commuting when you live on-campus; you only pay for transportation when visiting home. Travel costs are significantly higher for students off-campus. Determine whether driving a car or taking the bus and other means of transportation can save you money. Transportation expenses, on average, may cost you up to $1,000 a year!
Textbooks and School Supplies
Another college expense to consider is a textbook purchase or rental. Books are generally pricey, but ultimately, your degree program’s reading requirements dictate your textbook costs. On average, textbook purchases reach up to $1,000-$1,500 annually. If you opt to buy pre-owned books or rent them, you can significantly reduce this amount and spend instead on stationery and other school supplies. If you bought brand new copies, you could resell them to regain at least a portion of your money back.
Learning Gadgets and Tools
Depending on your degree program of choice, you may need a laptop for school work and projects. This is an added expense, but a necessary one! Save money by looking for promotional prices and package sets. Choose a laptop with speakers and a headset that sell for a cheap package price. The secret is to explore different shops and compare prices online!
When budgeting for college, include estimates of your expenses. How much do you spend with friends, concerts or movies, shopping for your needs, or doing laundry and getting toiletries? Set cash aside for emergencies, as well as medicine and health insurance. Make sure to invest in your health!
Attending college now is costlier than it ever was! Consider each expense as a college student and remember that, no matter how expensive you think your college dreams are—there are ways to afford it! Explore your many financial aid options and pursue the one that works for you!