Soon your son or daughter will be packing for college. You filled out the FAFSA, and know exactly what financial aid and loans you’ll have. But have you considered these hidden costs related to college?
If your student is living in the dorms, be prepared to spend money on furnishing that dorm room. That can include everything from bedding to towels and from waste baskets to toiletries.
If you are traveling to drop your child off at college, be prepared for gas, hotel and meal costs. He or she can stay in the dorm room, but where will you or other family members stay during orientation and visits? Also, consider expenses of getting your student home during fall, spring and holiday breaks.
Are you prepared for the actual costs of textbooks and any additional class-required expenses such as lab fees or software programs? You also may have to spring for a personal computer, laptop or tablet, as well as a printer. If your student has a car, it will need a parking permit.
If your student is going to be socially active on campus, be prepared for any club fees as well as spending money for entertainment, food and snack purchases beyond the meal plan.
Now is a good time to discuss your student’s employment status while in college. Will he or she hold down a part-time or full-time job or work on campus? How will that money be spent?
It’s a great time to have deeper financial conversations with your college-bound student, who you hope has to skills to budget, plan, and prioritize purchases. Be sure to spell out the expectations for what you will pay for and what he or she, now on the verge of adulthood, will cover.