Saturday, October 02, 2010

8 College Fees You Didn't Plan For

There is no doubt that college has its expenses, but beyond tuition and supplies, there are dozens of other hidden costs you should plan to incur. put together a great list of 8 college fees you probably aren’t planning on. You can find a few of their tips below, or check out the full list here.

Freshman orientation: $100

Orientation isn’t usually optional, but neither is it free. For opening dorms early, guest speakers or, yes, even orientation parties, some schools charge $100 per student – or more. Iowa State University charges $190. Boston University charges $215 per student; if parents and siblings attend, they're charged $100 and $50 each, respectively.

Study abroad enrollment: $800

Aside from regular tuition and the costs associated with living abroad, some schools tack on a “maintenance fee” for study abroad. Purdue University, for example, charges a fee of up to $853.35 per semester if a student goes abroad through a program that isn’t run by Purdue. A spokeswoman for the university says the fee covers maintaining relationships with the host university, including the cost for Purdue officials to travel to the school abroad to check on the program.

Technology: $130 to $445

The days of free computer labs are over. Nowadays students are often charged about $200 per year to cover maintenance, ink and paper, says a spokesman for the U.S. Student Association, a network of college student governments. And more tech-oriented students pay more. At Iowa State, most students pay $115 per semester, but majors in fields like engineering and computer science pay $223.

Student activities: $270

The extracurricular activities on campus look free, in that students don’t have to pay to attend them. Instead, there’s a student union fee tacked on to tuition bills to help pay for the student newspapers and activities like dances. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Maryland, it’s $272 for the year. At California State University, Fresno, it’s up to $109 per semester to pay for the recreation center, plus a $34.50 student body fee for support of on-campus student organizations.

Sports: $200 to $1,000

Big-time jocks get college scholarships. Amateurs and enthusiasts have to pay to play. At Ohio State, students in intramural sports will pay up to $125 per team per quarter. These sports aren’t supported by university athletic departments, so they turn to students for funding, says Rod Bugarin, a former financial aid officer at Brown and Columbia universities. And even if your child isn’t the athletic type, you may still have to pay $1,000 or more to support a school’s athletic program – especially if it’s in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s top division, says a USSA spokesman.

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