Don’t forget to include these expenses when budgeting for college, including costs for students learning online and on campus. Planning for college expenses college students’ budgets might look a little different this year as many universities move to an entirely online or hybrid fall semester in the wake of the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Aside from tuition and housing costs, here are a few items that families might need to add to their budgets this year.
7. Books and supplies
According to the College Board, the average full-time, on-campus undergraduate at a four-year school is estimated to have spent $1,240 on books and supplies during the 2019-2020 academic year. Students can consider these tips on cutting textbook costs, which include buying the digital versions of textbooks and participating in buyback deals.
6. Travelling home
Travelling home is an expenditure that adds up over the year, college advising experts say. “The closer you are to home, the less it will cost you,” Moore says, though he notes that students and families may be eliminating or significantly reducing costs this year by cutting back on campus visits and only travelling when it is essential to do so.
The cost of flights can vary, but prices have fluctuated due to the coronavirus pandemic, so some families with students attending out-of-state schools may be able to nab deals.
If a student commutes to campus, owning and maintaining a car carries additional costs, including parking, insurance, fuel and maintenance. Although students can use federal student loans to cover transportation costs, experts say, these expenditures aren’t considered qualified education expenses that can be paid for using funds from 529 plans.
4. Studying abroad
According to an Institute of International Education survey, more than 79% of colleges and universities expect a substantial decline in study abroad numbers in 2020-2021. Studying abroad may not be an option for students as outbreaks of the coronavirus continue to pop up globally. Still, the same survey also found that 84% of institutions continue to plan study abroad programs for future semesters. Expenses vary depending on the cost of living in the host country and what the curriculum covers, but some schools have generous programs where it doesn’t cost much more than staying stateside, experts say.
3. Greek life
“As for expenses that parents don’t plan for, No. 1 is Greek life,” says Sean Moore, president and founder of SMART Wealth Advisory, a Florida-based financial planning firm. “Not everyone does it, but it’s not an expense that people typically think about.” The coronavirus could affect Greek life at a student’s college, pushing the experience to virtual platforms,
But families should still prepare to pay dues if their students participate. Licenses can cost a few hundred dollars a year to $2,000 depending on several factors, and follow a monthly schedule to cover social events, insurance, dues to the national or international chapters and other operational costs – such as maintaining the grounds of a chapter house.
Despite numerous student discounts available at many clothing retailers, prices can add up for a student who’s moving from a warmer to a cooler climate for school.
Some schools, college advisers say, have grants for special emergency expenses that can cover a significant expense for an eligible student with financial need. That grant might cover the cost of buying a heavy winter coat, for instance.
1. Technology and electronics
According to the National Retail Federation, Back-to-college spending may hit record highs this year, with college students and their families expected to spend an average of $1,059.20 per family.
Electronics are one of the most expensive and most commonly purchased items for college students: 60% of college shoppers plan to purchase electronics of some kind. They expect to spend about $262 on average. The good news is that laptops are considered qualified expenses for 529 college savings plan distributions.
Source: | US News