Sebastian Scalera – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – Whether it be an overdraft charge on a debit card or a luxury fee for a second can of soda on a commercial airline, fees can show up when least expected. They might not be a big deal when consumers are aware of them, but what if they aren’t? What if even a huge investment like going to college could involve hidden fees that hike up the price significantly?

It can and does. There are many hidden costs that going to college can entail.

Many schools like to advertise affordability to draw kids in. While many schools are very affordable, students must realize that it costs more than tuition to attend.

If you plan to live on or around campus instead of commuting: Remember that students aren’t paying just for tuition. For example, the University of Florida charged $6,381 in tuition per year in 2015 ($28,658 for out-of-state students). That is good value for the price, but don’t forget to add on $9,910 for room and board, $1,210 for books and supplies, and another $3.750 for “other expenses.” Add it all up and students are facing a grand total of $21,251 ($43,528 out-of-state). All of these numbers are public information, so what about the hidden costs mentioned earlier?

Interest Fees: According to the Instituter for College Access and Success, “Seven in 10 seniors (68%) who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2015 had student loan debt, with an average of $30,100 per borrower.” Student loans are a viable option, but many forget about the interest rates on these loans. As of right now, the average national interest rates on undergraduate student loans hover around 4.66 % depending on the circumstance.

Greek Life/Clubs: According to expert approximations, 9 million students across the country join a fraternity or sorority. To get an idea of what this can cost, take the Greek system at Dartmouth College, where 51% of students are in a fraternity or sorority, which require new member dues upon joining. Depending on that chapter, some sororities are asking for anywhere from $335-$647. This number can also depend on the school, but it is still an expense to keep in mind. Other popular clubs and organizations such as honor societies, religious clubs, and club athletics can come at a price too.

Leaving College: Whether it be spring break, studying abroad, or coming home for the summer, the cost of leaving campus is often out of sight and out of mind. This cost should be accounted for well beforehand if as student plans on doing any of these things.

Various College Fees: The Edvisors website has compiled a handy list of hidden costs of college including potentially unexpected fees like orientation, athletic center, and matriculation fees sometimes not included in tuition. It also includes tons of other expenses not covered here.

Don’t just take it from these sources. Actual college students have experienced these unexpected costs.

“People forget that they aren’t just paying for school when they go to school. The expensive of life continue as well. Gas, food, and spending money are all real,” said Ringling College of Art and Design graduate Andres Paz. Paz recommends finding a part time job or paid internship if possible.

University of Florida freshmen and former Mustang Michael Petruzzi said, “If you go to a big school, team spirit is real. Students might get discounts on tickets but football, basketball, and other sports still cost money to watch. You don’t want to be the guy who shows up to the tailgate empty handed, either.”