Being accepted into college is a big and exciting accomplishment. It marks the day that parents finally have to start digging in that old, college fund they have saved up over the years. With the cost of attendance going up every year, it can become difficult to fund when you include the several other added expenses that are not always considered during the application process. Once in college, students are required to purchase their own textbooks, be responsible for their own food, insurance and transportation, and living expenses. With these helpful tips by College Tourists, parents and students can help keep these additional costs at a minimum. 

Text Books:

Depending on the degree or course, some textbooks are more expensive than others.

Defiantly consider using the used books or rent the textbook. Some of the Book Stores associated with the school, for example, Barnes and Nobles are joining up with Campuses around the Nation to incorporate the Library and bookstore. Also, check book prices online and make sure the delivery date is before your actual course starts. 

Health Insurance:

If you are an International student, you might find US health insurance a lot more expensive than your current plan. Antibiotics, flu injections, strep tests and yearly medicals can be very costly, so make sure you check if you can use your current coverage internationally or sign up with a plan that is offered through the University. Most Colleges have on Campus doctors, medical centers on campus, or an affiliation with a local hospital that offers doctors on rotation for the Campus. 

Meal Plans:

Once you decide where you are living on or off campus, decide on the meal plan. You might find that some meal plans are a little pricey.  Weigh up your options from a basic plan to an extensive one, depending on your schedule, include thinking about whether you are on a sport team, if you travel a lot, whether you are in a Fraternity or Sorority, and if you cook meals at the houses. 


Public transportation to the nearest airport or nearest city or just to get home can prove to be expensive. Check to see if there are free shuttle services available, especially at major holiday times. If you’re not near a major city or town, you can check on the Community board within the college to see if other students are driving to your destination and sign up for a lift. Some schools have zip cars available on campus and bicycle hire from central area. Check the costs of airfares and train costs in advance. 

Extra curricular activities:

Some on campus activities require a membership fee or activity fee. Joining a sorority or fraternity comes with pledge fees and being involved in philanthropic event participation that can incur a substantial amount of additional expense. Be aware of the costs before you pledge. Events on campus, like concerts can have a ticket price and being apart of a sport team also requires extra funds depending on the sport. 

Living Expenses/Housing:

If your student lives off campus they will need to furnish their space. Bedding, dining table and chairs, and kitchen supplies are just the start of what is required to live off Campus. Consider the flea markets or second hand stores for tables and chairs. Also check with student boards for items on sale from people moving out. 

Study Abroad:

If you are considering study abroad, limit what you might need for your apartment or dorm room; you’ll just have to sell it or have it removed. When studying abroad, the fees will probably include a meal plan, but consider the fact that exploring the destination and culture is all part of the adventure, so you will need extra funds to eat like a local and do some extra activities that may not be in the school package. Also check the currency exchange; your local dollar might not go as far as you think. 

About College Tourist 

College Tourist launched in April 2012 and provides a digital method for students to share the best of their own college town, such as where to eat, shop or just hang out.  The College Tourist team provides a site which creates a community of local knowledge and shared experiences for college students to inspire one another.  Furthermore, the College Tourist blog enhances the website experience with blog posts that encompass travel, fashion and food. The College Tourist team has traveled extensively and lived in numerous countries around the world including Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Australia, before settling in to life in the United States. 

For more information on the College Tourist project, please visit

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