The Hidden Costs of College You Need to Know About

By Amy Hu - Upper Arlington High School

So you think you found the perfect college? Well, here are just a few hidden costs on top of your college tuition, dorm fees and meal planning. Every student deserves to know about these in advance to budget accordingly. Keep in mind, if you are moving to a city school, chances are all of these expenses will be more! 

1. Textbook Fees

Now that you’ve paid a hefty price for your education, you’re going to need some books to learn. Well, stinks for you. New textbooks can cost up to $350-$450 per a semester (but it does vary depending on the major and number of majors you have). However, you can save a couple of bucks by buying from second hand stores (which usually cost around $150-$250) or you can use your FREE library card.

2. Transportation

So now that you've purchased your discounted textbooks, how are you getting to school? Depending on the location of your school, you may need to purchase a parking pass or MetroCard to get to your classes and travel around the city. Furthermore, if you are planning to go out of state, travelling costs such as airplane tickets and car expenses can really pile up. Some ways you can save some money is by riding a bike or walking in a big city instead of driving or purchasing airline tickets on discount by using your student ID.

3. Student Organization Fees

Student life is key to improving your college experience and making new friends but they can be very costly. Greek life and many student organizations require a membership fee or some sort of monetary funding. There aren’t many ways to save a few pennies. But in this case, the benefits might outweigh the costs.

4. Sneaky Library Fees

Remember that free library card I mentioned earlier? Well, there’s more to it than that. Don’t forget about your printing, copying, laminating and other library fees that can pile up. Once again, there aren’t many ways to get out of paying library fees, but you can try local libraries or other shops that allow students to use a printer at discounted prices.


In general, college can be a huge financial burden, but if you are able to use these small tricks, you will most likely to be able to save hundreds if not thousands of dollars. With that extra pile of cash sitting around, go travel, study abroad, or invest in a new project.