direct and indirect costs
Content provided by Sallie Mae's
Print this page
Remember that there is more to college expenses than just tuition and
housing bills. Everything from books to supplies to trips back home
adds to the overall cost.
To estimate how much college costs, look at the direct and indirect costs.
This category typically includes tuition, fees, and room and board. You pay
the money directly to your school. Tuition and fees vary by school, and
if you've selected a state school, your tuition will depend on your
residency status. The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition
can amount to thousands of dollars per year.
Tuition: If you selected a state school, the tuition (cost of classes) will
depend on your residency status. The difference between in-state and
out-of-state tuition can be thousands of dollars a year. Some
schools base tuition on the number of credit hours taken in an academic
period. Others rely on enrollment status (full time versus part time). Get
details from the financial aid or admissions office.
Fees: Most schools charge set fees for services such as activities or
athletic facilities. Such fees usually appear on the tuition bill whether
you use these services or not.
On-campus room and board: You may choose to live on campus and eat in
dining facilities. Meal plans prices can vary significantly.
These expenses are not paid directly to your school, but are associated with
attending school. You and your family can control some of them.
Books and Supplies: Textbook costs are similar from school to school, but
they vary greatly depending on the courses taken. Students can save by
buying used books, buying online, or sharing with classmates. Some
classes require more supplies than others; others have printing, copying,
or computer costs.
Computer: Many schools require students to have a personal computer.
Check the admissions requirements to determine whether a basic PC will do
or a more expensive laptop is required. Remember to add the costs of
software, a printer, andif you live off campusconnection to
Off-campus room and board: This category includes rent, furnishings,
utilities, and meals. If you haven't learned how to cook, now is the time!
Even if you live at home, there will be expenses related to food and
Transportation: If you will commute to school, factor in the cost of public
transportation, gas, car insurance, maintenance, and parking fees. Some
schools provide free parking, while others require a paid permit. If the
school is far away, don?t forget the cost of air travel to get home on breaks
and holidays. Your child can lower these costs by carpooling and by
shopping around for student rates on airfare.
Personal expenses: Students have lots of small personal expenses that add
up and can make a huge difference in this category. Consider clothing,
laundry, haircuts, cell phone, and entertainment. Teach your child to
maintain a written budget since these expenses can easily spiral out of
Special circumstances: If you have child care costs or expenses related
to a disability, include them in your budget.
Other costs: Count on extra expenses such as lab fees for science courses,
fees for course changes, and expenses for participating in athletics or
joining a sorority or fraternity. Try to keep a little extra money in the
budget to cover emergencies.
Return to College Costs
Return to Resource Center