For college-bound high school graduates and their parents who are planning for college tuition and expenses, College Ave Student Loans offers a look at the top unexpected costs and how to manage them. According to a College Ave Student Loans and GET Creative, a part of the USA TODAY Network, Twitter Poll with 17,532 votes, 46% of respondents believe textbooks & supplies are the most surprising costs, 31% voted housing & food and 14% ranked extras such as the cost of gym memberships and club expenses. These extra college costs can run into the thousands for unprepared students and their parents. To help families manage the costs ahead, College Ave Student Loans has teamed up with personal finance expert and host of So Money podcast Farnoosh Torabi and America’s #1 College Life Expert, best-selling author and host of The Naked Financial Minute Harlan Cohen to offer financial strategies for the road ahead:
- Borrow instead of buy school supplies. The average estimated cost on course materials for the 2016-2017 academic year will run up to $1,250 for four-year college programs, according to The College Board. This excludes the cost of technology and miscellaneous supplies, which can push expenses higher. To get the best value, Torabi suggests future college freshman borrow books instead of purchasing them. “There are websites where you can rent books, even your college bookstore may have a renting program,” said Torabi. “And if you have to buy them, you can look at the buy-back program, which will put extra cash in your pocket at the end of the semester.”
- Be mindful of food expenses. The most surprising college expense according to college students? “Food, food, food,” says Cohen. “Every time I talk to students about surprise college costs, it’s always about food.” Spending extra money on food is even easier at many colleges where college IDs can be loaded with money and swiped as payment at local restaurants and coffee shops, he warns. To mitigate food costs, Cohen urges college-bound freshmen to not be shy and take advantage of events on campus offering free food. Torabi says parents can help by purchasing discounted gift cards online for restaurants where the student likes to eat.
- Enlist the advice of current college students. Talk to current college students about their expenses, says Torabi. They have the best insight about what to expect and where to save when it comes to expenses at school. From what supplies you may need for a class, to how much certain club activities will cost, the best place to get the lay of the land is from current college students.
- Plan for an extra trip. Cohen encourages future college freshman to budget for that extra trip. He adds you may get homesick, need to go back for a family emergency, or want to go on vacation with friends. No matter what, you will likely take one more trip somewhere than you originally anticipated.
- Consider your loan options. A parent loan from College Ave Student Loans can help parents cover some of their student’s unexpected costs associated with college. Not only does the loan offer flexible repayment options and a great rate, the College Ave Student Loans parent loan offers a direct deposit feature of up to $2,500 in a parent’s account so parents can manage the spending on extra education expenses.
“The College Ave Student Loans parent loan is a great option when parents want to take on some of the responsibility of paying for college but savings, scholarships and federal student loans fall short,” says Joe DePaulo, CEO and Co-Founder of College Ave Student Loans. “Unexpected college costs can arise, and the parent loan can help families anticipate, plan and pay for extra education expenses; it gives parents the flexibility to manage surprise costs on their terms and without the stress of scrambling last minute to find extra funds.”
To help cover these extra college costs, College Ave Student Loans is also kicking off its 2017 summer sweepstakes. During the months of June, July and August, one winner each month will receive free textbooks for the year (up to a $1,200 value). To enter and learn more, visit https://www.collegeavestudentloans.com/promos/win-free-books-2017/.