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Unexpected Costs
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What Are Some Unexpected College Costs?

Incoming freshmen can encounter many expenses beyond tuition; be sure to budget for them.


Q: What are some of the most unexpected costs for incoming freshmen?

A: Check the estimated cost of attendance. Many expenses are not included.

Estimated cost breakdown of expenses include fixed costs (tuition and student health fee) and unfixed (books, supplies, college service card, and other costs). However, know that your unfixed costs may be more or less than any listed estimates. Travel costs can vary widely depending on your distance from LBCC. You may also want to purchase tickets for theatre or sports events, a campus parking permit, or a College Services Card (added benefits) and those are not included in your tuition. Depending on your major, there could be extra expenses for your classes. For example, art majors incur more fees for supplies than history majors.  Also you should factor in spending money for social activities on or off campus.

Some classes require material or facility use fees.  These fees will be noted in the schedule of classes.  These must be paid upon registration.  Transportation, public and private, and parking fees, if applicable, are another cost to factor each semester.  Parking privileges and fees are optional.  You can purchase a parking permit each semester with your online registration, at the Cashier’s Office or online any time during the semester, or there are daily parking permit dispensers in many parking lots at both campuses.

Colleges normally don't factor in the cost of textbooks and course materials, but they can run up to $500 a term.  Typical office supplies as well as course specialty materials will be required of you throughout your education and you are responsible for those costs.  Using online resources and “Back to School” values can help you save.  You can also save money by ordering used textbooks from places like The Viking Bookstore sells used books, so take advantage and sell your books back at the end of the term if you don't need them anymore.

A: The unanticipated cost of experiences.

Part of the LBCC experience that is overlooked when budgeting are expenses related to learning experiences you can (and need to) have outside of the classroom. Many students may not anticipate how much they will need to spend when joining clubs, campus and local organizations and/or participating in recreational activities. Similarly, internships are becoming a must-have for the job market and they often pay very little, if at all. This is another example of an overlooked but necessary expense and experience that may require some imaginative planning to make sure it happens. Unanticipated costs exist, but with a resourceful approach they can be minimized. Get involved, budget creatively, and this will maximize your college experience overall.

A: Food for thought: eat, read, and save money.

Even in this age of electronic media, most professors still expect students to buy books. The average annual cost of books for a college student is significant. Reading textbooks put on reserve in the library is one cost-saving option, but buying used books at reduced prices is definitely more convenient and reliable. And don't forget, late-night reading leads to late-night eating, another unexpected cost. Have reasonably priced snacks on hand and save those late-night pizza runs for the weekend.  Speaking of food, pack your lunch or dinner if possible and save money there.  If you must eat on campus visit the Viking Express Convenience Store at the LAC or the “Grab & Go” in the PCC Bookstore for a quick snack and eat full meals at home.