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Getting a Handle on Extra College Expenses
College Parenting Expert, Wendy David-Gaines, reveals hidden college expenses that are often non-publicized and unknown to parents of first-time college students.
Let’s face it, sending a student to college is extremely expensive and even with scholarships, most families still need extra financial help while their students are in school. When families are looking at college costs, the numbers shown on college websites are usually for tuition, room, and board, and sometimes textbooks.
What colleges typically don’t reveal are the hidden costs consisting of many of these:
- Food from anywhere other than campus dining halls
- Laundry fees
- Extra class fees, such as labs and special equipment
- Dorm outfitting and decorating expenses
College Parenting Expert, Wendy David-Gaines, reveals hidden college expenses that are often non-publicized and unknown to parents of first-time college students and states,
College costs may be a frequent topic for the parent-student team to address but even the most thorough estimates can be off by thousands. That’s because there are huge hidden costs not mentioned by the colleges and not covered by financial aid. The good news is families can form a plan to reduce these extra expenses before they pop up unexpectedly.
Whether living on campus or commuting, COA (Cost of Attendance) does not include:
• Start-up costs
• Program expenses
• Parent travel expenses
• Borrowing costs
If you and/or your student are taking out loans, even the low-cost federal government loans have their own start-up fees and POCS should add in interest charges.
To help you figure your POCS COA at different colleges, I created this chart:
|Tuition and Fees|
|Books and Supplies|
|1Room and Board|
|Personal Miscellaneous Expenses|
|Parent Travel Expenses|
|TOTAL POCS COA|
|1||Commuters include their living expenses.|
While you are comparing, here’s another POCS tip to keep in mind. Tuition can cost the same at an expensive private school as it does at a public state university. With the help of financial aid from the federal government and the school, as well as state programs and outside scholarships, college can be made affordable.
To help you compare your POCS COA at colleges your student received admission offers along with financial aid awards, I created this chart:
|TOTAL POCS COA|
|1 Financial Aid Free $ Awards|
|Free $ from Federal|
|Free $ from State|
|Free $ from College|
|Free $ from Outside Scholarships|
|TOTAL Free $|
|2 POCS COA – TOTAL Free $ =|
|3 How to Pay|
|Cash on hand|
|Federal Student Loans|
|Federal Parent Loans|
|TOTAL Paid by Family|
|1||Before accepting, check for strings attached to grants/scholarships such as maintaining a certain grade point average and/or a specific major, playing on an athletic team, joining the band, only available for the first year of attendance.|
|2||If total costs are greater than the free money award, the family must pay the difference.|
|3||Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a financial aid program. When the student works, he receives a paycheck for his FWS job. However, since FWS does not reduce the college bill, it is not included on the chart.|
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Monica Matthews is the author of How to Win College Scholarships. She helped her own son win over $100,000 in college scholarships and now shares her expertise with other parents and their students. She truly has “been there, done that” in regard to helping parents and students navigate the scholarship process.
Her method of helping students in finding college scholarships, writing unique and compelling scholarship essays, creating amazing scholarship application packets, and more have taught desperate parents to help their own students win thousands of scholarship dollars. She teaches them how to apply S.M.A.R.T. with outstanding results.
Monica’s scholarship tips have been featured on many prominent websites, and she has been dubbed the “Go-To” expert on college scholarships.