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What Are the Different Types of College Living Expenses?

Dan Cavallari
By
Updated Feb 24, 2024
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The biggest expense a college student will usually need to account for is tuition, but other costs are associated with college living as well. College living expenses will include food, entertainment, school supplies, and clothing, not to mention housing fees if the student lives on campus and rent if he lives off campus. Utilities will also fall under the category of college living expenses if the student lives off campus, while a student living in dormitories on campus will not usually have to pay such fees. Laundry services may end up costing the student money, as will amenities such as cable television.

Outfitting a dorm room with comfortable furniture and other items will end up adding to college living expenses. Sheets and blankets for a bed, chairs for the room, desks, televisions, microwaves, and mini-refrigerators are all common items found in a dorm room, and the cost of these items can vary. While these are usually one-time expenses, they canadd up quickly. Laundry services are often provided on campus, but it is likely that a student will need to pay for such services out of pocket. Sometimes students can rent storage space or lockers on campus as well, which will add to college living expenses.

If the student lives off campus, he or she will need to pay rent and utilities for an apartment or house. These college living expenses can add up quickly, too, and the student will likely need a job to help pay for these expenses. If public transportation is not available, a student may need to drive a car, pay for maintenance of that vehicle, and pay for gas. Many colleges and universities also charge a fee for a parking pass, and the cost of such a pass can vary significantly according to that particular school's policies.

While many colleges and universities offer dining plans a student can add to his or her tuition, some students choose to eat off campus. Some students who live off campus may not be able to benefit from dining plans, since the dining halls are all on campus. Groceries will add to college living expenses, as will eating out at restaurants, and these costs can be some of the highest living expenses a college student incurs if he or she is not careful. Entertainment costs such as going to the movies, going to a club, or even going to see a movie can add up as well, so the student will need to budget his or her money carefully.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By Chmander — On May 04, 2014

Speaking of college living expenses, I find that when it comes to most meal plans, it's best to go with one of the smaller ones, as the "block" plans aren't really worth it, the main reason being that college cafeteria food isn't anything to write home about.

We have to remember that hundreds of students are being fed each day. Due to this, the cafeteria servers don't always have time to prepare things in an orderly fashion. Things are rushed out, and food is bought in stock. Just thought I'd share some of my ideas on college living expenses.

By Hazali — On May 03, 2014

As the article indirectly states, when it comes down to college living expenses, I really feel that people need to come up with a plan. If they don't, by the time they realize how much everything costs, it will be too late. However, that's also why they have counselors and such who can really help you out. In this day and age, the road to education is becoming more and more expensive, and plans are needed more than ever.

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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