Explaining What Those Pesky College Miscellaneous Fees Really Mean

College isn’t cheap in the US, and just when you think you’re done, there are all those confusing tacked-on fees. Here are some sneaky things colleges often charge for.

Student Activity Fee

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Student activity fees are used to support “campus organizations.” If your kid believes they are too busy to join clubs, it’s time to reconsider because you’re paying for all of them.

Co-curricular Fee

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This fee supports recreational and outdoor education, living expenses, leadership, and multicultural initiatives. Who knew being diverse came at a cost?

Health and Wellness Fee

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You may think, “I already have insurance,” but this service isn’t the same as health insurance. This fee covers additional programs such as individual counseling and crisis intervention.

Student Health Insurance Fee

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This fee can be waived if you’re already subscribed to health insurance. If not, be prepared to pay $2,000 or more.

Course Fees

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These fees will vary depending on the student’s major, but be prepared to shell out more than $1,000.

ID Card Replacement

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You’ll be charged $25 if you lose your student ID.

Late Registration

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If you register for classes on or after the first day of classes, you’ll get hit with a $50 fee.

Room and Board

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Many colleges require students to live in a dorm for the first two years. This can cost $6,000–$13,000 annually, not including internet and cable fees.

Other Fees

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There were many other fees in the PDF we reviewed, but we included some of the most common ones here. We recommend you use this as a baseline for what you could be paying for your college.

Know Your Fees

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Reading the “fine print” is something most people don’t do for a reason—it can be difficult to understand.

This post isn’t intended to bash colleges because, for many, going to school is a great path to financial success. However, the more you understand the fees involved, the more informed decisions you’ll make. At the very least, you’ll know where your money is going.

Author: Christopher Alarcon

Title: Journalist

Expertise: personal finance, side hustles, time management


Christopher Alarcon is a journalist with a deep passion for personal finance. He has contributed to major online publications, including MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and Business Insider.