The final official bill of college costs

the final billYou’ve done the accounting and think that you’ve determined the total cost of tuition, room and board for the first semester. You’ve figured you can handle say $5,000 per semester at the state university, and have done the financing needed to make this happen. But then the official bill is emailed to your student and you learn that you really owe over $6,000 for that first semester. What are these extra charges? More importantly, how do we plan for second semester? We don’t want to be surprised again when the next bill arrives in November!

We anticipated the Instructional Fee, the Dorm fee (called a Multiple Occupancy Room fee) and the Meal plan for a grand total of $9,539. Once the scholarships and loans were applied our share should have been the $5,000 mentioned above.

Which fees surprised us? A General Fee of $861, a bus fee of $60, a Facilities Fee of $60, a Student Technology Fee (On Campus) of $102, and Refrigerator Rental of $26 for a grand total of $1,109. (My son’s campus does not allow students to bring their own refrigerators, hence the rental fee.) All of these will also appear on the second semester bill. Remember signing up for Summer Orientation? The online form stated that the fees would be added to the first bill. At the time we thought that this was an advantage; now we are thinking otherwise. Add $84 for Freshman Orientation Meals. Student Registration and Orientation fees (including dorm fees for three and all handouts) came to another $145 totaling $229 for Orientation alone. Together these unexpected fees added a surprising $1,339 to the cost of the first semester bill! The good news is that these Orientation Fees will NOT appear on the bill for the second semester.

Student INSURANCE: If you neglected to sign the Health Insurance Waiver at Orientation you may also find an insurance charge of $822 tacked onto your bill. You can still opt out by signing the waiver and providing proof of insurance. If you are retired, if your student is not covered by your plan, or if your student has “aged out” of your plan, school-provided insurance could be a cost-effective means of insuring your student. Check the fine print of the policy, however, to see if it runs all year, or if it only covers those portions of the year when your student is actually attending school.

Now that you have a complete list of additional fees, you can adjust your savings plan, adjust your loan, or do a bit of both. While we think that the technology fee is on the high side, we know that it will be well-used by our son. Unfortunately, all students will pay the bus fee and the facilities fee (most likely the recreation center) whether or not they use them. This is a great time to convince your student to start, or continue, his/her workout program – after all, you’re paying for the facility and staff–it might as well be useful!


Tuition and Bills