College Costs That Can Creep Up On You

Most people who are set to start college think that the only costs they need to consider are their tuition fees. However, that’s not the only cost that you need to be aware of. School-related fees are continuously on the rise and it can be difficult to track how much you are spending and to fund it.

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If you don’t keep a watchful eye on your spending or estimate how much you think you are going to spend each year it can lead you into trouble. Not only do you need to research how to find your student loan you also need to think about writing yourself up a financial plan for throughout your studies.

Some of the unexpected college fees that you may find you need to fund include:


This is an invaluable time for any freshman about to embark on their journey of education, so you need to factor in any costs that you might accrue. Fees are normally due when you register for any of the orientation activities, and you may need to attend a special preregistration session too. Depending on your school of choice, the cost of this can add up to much as three hundred dollars. You also need to think about how much accommodation and travel may add to your costs too.

Freshman Fees

You may find that some colleges will charge you a freshman fee, this is usually different from an orientation fee. It goes towards things like student support programs and services. The costs are minimal, usually around ten dollars a semester but it’s still a cost you should add to the list.

Fee’s On Campus

You will find that some if not all colleges will charge a campus fee in a lump sum fee. It will usually cover areas like access to campus buildings and campus maintenance. It may also cover services, facilities that support the academic experience, enhancement programs, recreational centers, student centers, health services, campus buses, concerts, and student events as well as certain athletics and others. It’s a good idea to research this on the school’s website and make note of any costs you need to add to your budget.


This might not apply to everyone however, it’s still worth mentioning. You may find that some classes come with an added expense during your registration, this is a lab fee. They will, of course, vary depending on the type, of course, you are taking. For example, if you are taking a course in biology it will cover things like slides, Petri dishes, and microscope repairs. You can expect to pay around one hundred and fifty dollars for a course such as engineering and chemistry although it could be more.

Campus Spirit

Most colleges will charge a fee to support any athletic programs include in a campus or athletic fee, however, others will bill this under a different name. You will find that some colleges charge a campus spirit fee of around one hundred dollars each year. This goes towards supporting spirit and athletic programs and is required of all undergraduate students. If you want to know more information it’s best to look at it on each colleges website.


Usually quite small in cost; around fifteen dollars. Some schools have now started to charge a green initiative fee which is completely aimed at advancing project to help promote sustainability around campus. This is also a food area to show an interest in and to show your support.

Technology Fees

Think about the facilities you are likely to use when you attend college, you most likely are expecting to have computers and wifi as a minimum to utilize if you need to. Most colleges do provide these resources, but you can’t expect them to come without cost. You will find that the majority of colleges have a technology fee which will mean you have access to wifi, computers, and printers.

Transportation Costs

Some colleges and universities will offer their students shuttle buses for traveling around campus, this is a fee that varies among schools. You can expect to pay a variable price for every credit hour that you are taking. These costs are referred to as transportation access costs and can quickly add up and be unexpected if you don’t do your research beforehand. Some schools are pay as you go and others will ask you for one lump sum. Make sure you research this before you commit to a college. If you don’t think that you are going to be using campus transport then you should let your college know as soon as possible. They may ask how you are intending to get around, simply saying ‘I’m going to use my bike’ or ‘I’m making time to walk’ will do just fine.

Athletic Fees

Although this cost is sometimes bundled with your campus fees, it can also come as a separate one too. Colleges can be pretty bad for trying to regain costs, and athletic is a big cost for the majority. Just make sure you are aware and understand why you are paying these fees if you have any questions or are unsure make sure you approach your college, who will be able to supply a details breakdown of all fees

Graduation Or Commencement Fees

You might find that you need to pay a commencement fee, or graduation fee, in order for you to participate in the school’s ceremony. The cost for this can vary, and although you don’t have to think about it right away it’s definitely a cost to think about for the future. You may also need to think about costs like hiring your robes and buying your certificates. It might be a good idea to put some money to one side for this, as a lot of students also like to celebrate once they know they are going to graduate, and you wouldn’t want to miss that!

Health And Wellness Fees

You can expect to pay a mandatory wellness fee at a large number of colleges. This goes towards supporting things like drug and alcohol awareness programs and other health programs within the college’s wellness center. Not all colleges have one. It’s a fee that you are likely going to need to pay per semester but some college may charge you per credit hour, there is usually a cap for those students for are partaking in more than fifteen credits. Your health and wellbeing are extremely important so it’s understandable for colleges to included this and ask for a fee. It gives you a safety blanket for support if you ever need it.


This list may seem scary, and it might make you feel as though financially it is going to be a struggle. However, you should remember that college how always been well-known for been expensive and this is just a more in-depth breakdown of some of the fees you can expect to be paying. It’s good to be aware of where your money is going so you are able to better appreciate the inner working of your college of choice.

Research and planning are your best friends when it comes to looking after your student budget throughout college. It’s definitely a good idea to create a budget and try to stick to it as much as possible. Many people try to get a part-time job or paid internship to help support them through college, so this might be something you want to consider.

Have you comes across any other costs that aren’t included on this list? Please share them in the comments below.

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