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What Does College Cost? Plan for Tuition, Plus These Expenses

When it comes to paying for college, there are the expenses you probably already know about — tuition, room and board — but there are also probably some you haven't considered. As you start budgeting for the four years ahead, here are a few of the common college costs you might encounter.

College Tuition

Depending what college or university you attend, your cost per credit could be by the hour, or you might have a flat fee. At Saint Louis University, the undergraduate tuition fee covers 12 to 18 credit hours a semester. Students who enroll in fewer (or more) classes pay by the credit hour.


Residence Halls and Dining Plans

Where will you live? What kind of meal plan will you have? You've got some control over this college cost. At SLU, most freshmen live on campus; room costs vary from building to building. You have choices about how your meal plan breaks down but the cost is included in your board for the year. Saving money by living at home? At some schools, like SLU, full-time commuting freshmen still need a meal plan.

University Fees

From technology to wellness, all universities have fees that cover your amenities while you're on campus. In addition, your major might require you to buy certain supplies or have fees associated with certain courses.

Campus Transportation

Planning to bring your car? Plan to pay for parking. You might also want to budget for plane tickets or gas money needed for trips home during the holidays or over the summer.

Health Insurance

Universities offer health insurance for students who aren't covered under other plans. If you already have insurance, you might need to submit a waiver and a copy of your insurance card to avoid being charged.


College textbooks can easily cost hundreds of dollars a semester. You might be able to bring down the cost by renting college textbooks or using digital books. At SLU, textbooks bought at the student bookstore can be charged to your university account.


Planning on eating out? Need new shoes? Don't forget to factor life outside the classroom into your budget.

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