A group of students doing school work at a cafe

Be Prepared for Extra Expenses at College

How Much Does College Cost?

College tuition has become increasingly expensive, but thanks to scholarships, student loans and other forms of financial aid, many students are able to lessen, defer or even avoid the cost of tuition. However, there are many other costs to college that incoming students might not put a lot of thought into.

It’s important to be prepared for these additional expenses before making the final decision of whether to attend college. So, how much does college cost? Read on to see what expenses you will incur.

Living Expenses

The largest expense next to tuition is typically rent, at least for students living on campus. If you live within driving distance of a college or university, you might want to think about commuting instead. If you’re determined to live on campus, you still may be able to get a break on housing costs, especially if you enroll in a military officer training program.

Food can also be expensive, though students in dormitories often have the option of purchasing a meal plan in conjunction with their housing plan. There are often different levels of plans, so don’t get the most extravagant plan unless you have a big appetite and intend to not skip any meals. If you commute, bring food from home or arrange classes in blocks so you can eat at home to avoid spending a lot on food at school.

Buying School Supplies

Then there are the costs associated with the classes themselves. It’s likely that you’ll take a big monetary hit with textbooks every semester, though buying used books or sharing books with other students can cut down on costs considerably. You’ll also need to purchase a variety of course materials and school supplies, from a book bag and notebooks to a calculator and maybe even a computer. Your future major will determine a lot about the types of materials you will need.


Finally, socializing is an important part of college for most people. Be prepared to have some mad money just for going out and having fun with your new friends. Whether that involves hitting the dance club or going to the movies, you’ll have a better time at college if you have enough cash to goof around every once in a while.

Just make sure you really do have the money; one of the biggest traps college students can fall into is loading up on credit card debt that takes years to pay off. With preparation and common sense, college doesn’t have to be a financial disaster for students.