College costs keep rising

costs risingOnce you have your kid deep into their first semester of college, you think everything will work out fine. The tuition is paid, he has a job on campus, books are all paid for but the expenses don’t stop there.

With football going on the past three months, Scott has only been able to come home twice this semester. But when he does, there’s always the doling out of more money. He needs cash to pay the kid who gave him a ride home. He needs money to buy a pizza next weekend. He needs a long-sleeve football shirt so he doesn’t freeze during games. He needs this, that and extra supplies because he ran out of body soap and toothpaste. Please. Tell me, Scott, when you need those types of things. We don’t want him to be going around campus without taking showers or brushing his teeth.

But you’ll never find in any college catalog showcasing that extra category that has a headline saying “Extra costs that no one tells you about once your kid is in college.” At least Scott doesn’t take his car to college. We thought for his freshman year that a car was just one more thing to worry about. Plus, he wasn’t making enough money to pay for the gasoline or the insurance. So, his Blazer that he bought himself sits in my garage.

For parents who allow their sons and daughters to take a car to campus, beware of the hidden costs to you, such as the parking permits and then the tickets that almost every freshman gets because they don’t want to park their car the mile from their dorm room. They think they won’t get caught. But the campus police always find those cars in violation. The freshmen always get the farthest parking lot away.

piggy bankSome of the other things that I’ve spent money on that no one tells you about — the care packages. Just to send a few candy bars, some extra quarters for laundry and a few pizza coupons cost me almost $3. It doesn’t sound like a lot but the envelope was just a small 5 x 7 envelope. I can’t imagine if I actually sent him a big box of cookies and Doritos or anything heavy. That’s why I load him up with goodies on the weekends he does come home or when we go see him. There’s another dollar amount no one talks about.

And when they are home, they eat you out of house and home. Cafeteria food is getting pretty routine and boring around Thanksgiving time. Scott admits he as ordered a pizza at least once a week for the past few weeks. Glad he’s got that work study job. But when he’s home, a parent always likes to treat them to their favorites. And once in awhile, we go out to his favorite burger joint or pizza palace.

Now with my marriage separation, I’m also looking into filling out some forms through the college telling them of my new financial predicament. With the behavior and financial troubles that my soon-to-be-ex husband is facing, I’m really worried about how Scott and I can pay for the second semester. Many colleges do have temporary help available for those who find themselves in situations like mine. All I can do is try. That’s what the form is all about. They will review my financial history and see if any more financial aid can be filtered Scott’s way by the middle of January. So, I won’t fret until the bill is due.


Paying for the Second Year