Whether you are still trying to pick a school and have not yet applied, or you are in the final stages of preparing before you begin college; it is important to create an accurate budget.
Understanding how much things will cost and what the GI Bill will cover will help you to transition into school better and give you more time to focus on your education.
It is important to understand all the things in college that will cost you money other than your tuition.
Tuition is the preliminary cost of attending an institution. Think of it like base pay; while an E-4 with 4 years in service makes x amount of dollars according to base pay tables, after that special payments are added such as BAH, FSA, or hazard pay. Similarly, though an institution may advertise having a tuition of Y dollars, there are other fees which will be billed to your student account. It is important to note that the Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay for your tuition, the remaining fees you will need to pay for.
If you will be driving to school each day, or if you plan to live on campus with a car then it is likely your school will charge for a parking pass. If you plan to take the train or bus each day then make sure to take the price of tickets into account. Consider buying a monthly or annual pass if the transit system you are using offers them.
BOOKS AND SUPPLIES
This shouldn’t be too big of a concern since the GI Bill will pay you a stipend of up to $1000 dollars per year to pay for books and supplies. If you are really looking to budget costs and maybe pocket some of that money then consider buying used books or renting them if your college allows.
ROOM/BOARD AND FOOD
Don’t forget to consider the cost of either living in the dorms at school or renting an apartment. Keep in mind that dorms typically only allow you to live there ten months out of the year and the atmosphere generally caters to traditional students. Most schools will allow you to purchase meal plans even if you are commuting from off-campus, this may help you to save some money.
If your school does not offer free tutoring then consider the cost of paying a tutor in case you ever feel the need to get some extra help.
STUDENT HEALTH INSURANCE FEE
This fee is optional, so make sure you waive it if you already have health insurance, it will save you over $1,000 per a year. It is usually just a single piece of paper that you will fill out with your current health insurance information. If you do not have health insurance, then this will be a cheap way to get some while you are in school.
Some other fees may also be applied to your account. A software or technology fee may be applied in order to help pay for some of the costs of the technology on campus. A student fee may be applied which is to offset the costs of clubs, organizations, and student government (this will be applied to you whether or not you participate in any clubs). A student support fee may show up, which is to pay for the costs of administration and any free tutoring services your school may offer.[/fusion_text]