Having two very bright children, I worked hard at saving and planning for University for them. This included admittance fees, tuition, and room and board. Unfortunately, as with anything to do with children, there are several hidden costs. Some are minor and some not, but they all add up to a not insignificant amount.
There are social costs, and these will vary depending on the child, the university, and even your expectations. Every parent wants their child to look their best, but what have you taught your child to expect? Do they need the current fashion, which can change each month if not weekly. There was one young lady in my college days that I helped move, she had 50 pairs of shoes, and her parents thought that was normal! Shoes and cloths can add up the expenses, and they are not something most parents include in the budget.
With social costs come eating out and phone bills. They may be on the university meal plan, but they will still need to eat out on occasion with their friends. Hopefully this will not be excessive, but even the fast food can add up! They will also be telephoning and text messaging each other. Fortunately this can be done by purchasing an unlimited plan and costs contained, but it is one to be considered!
Something every parent hates to think about but will likely happen and can run up the expenses is health. Even if they are put on the University health plan and are on your insurance, there will be items not covered. Hopefully this will be something as simple as aspirin and Mylanta, but it could be more. The little stuff will add up and you definitely do not want to scrimp on your child’s health while at college. You have put in too much time and effort to get them there to have them drop out due to nutritional problems or they did poorly because of ulcers!
Social costs, which include clothing, eating out and telephone, are hidden costs as well as minor health expenses, the other major one is transportation! Mine use bicycles, or walk, but most use a car. This means increased insurance, gas and maintenance. Our transportation costs come in the form of air fare, getting them home for the holidays! That expense is rising, especially with all their baggage!
Hidden expenses, they are everywhere. Expect them when trying to finance college!