What do "fees" mean when colleges talk about "tuition and fees"?

Sara Lindberg

Sara Lindberg
Freelance Writer
Former High School Counselor
Don’t be surprised if your tuition bill exceeds the amount quoted on the college’s website. In addition to paying for classes (aka tuition), you’ll also need to cover any fees associated with the university. The good news is that most colleges are now pairing these two together under one “sticker price.” That way you see a total amount that includes both tuition and fees, which should help with the shock factor when you see your bill.

 So, what do these “fees” cover? Well, that depends on the school, but generally speaking, fees apply to things like activities, parking, the library, printing costs, workout facilities, recreational facilities, events, technology, guidance services, enrollment fees, matriculation fees, course fees, and much more. Make sure to ask for a detailed list of all the fees you’ll be required to pay. Also, once you’re in college, ask for an itemized printout of the fees charged to your account.

If you qualify for financial aid, the money you receive will go toward the total amount of fees for each academic year—otherwise, you’ll be required to pay out of pocket for any fees the college applies to your account. If you’re struggling to cover these fees, meet with a financial aid or admission officer to inquire about fee waivers. Some schools offer them for students who qualify.

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