College Dorm Fees

Discussion in 'Money Talk$' started by Gina B, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. Gina B

    Gina B
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    I have three kids going in bam bam bam, following each other. The first is there.

    I'm a bit confused on one particular issue.

    One bill is for the dorm. That portion is being paid via work study, which means she works for them and they keep the check and apply it to the bill at the end of the semester, then she owes the remainder or gets the difference, depending on how much she worked. However, the bill is THERE and says that for every thirty days it isn't paid, 18.5% is added to the bill.

    I feel pretty dumb now and bad for her, if this is really how it works with this like the letter says. I plan on advising her to call and ask about this, but is this common practice for the bill to grow like that in the program? At the least, she'll find out and we'll be better prepared next time around. We sure are running into a lot of surprises!

    Is this just normal stuff that people know and we just didn't? The cost itself is not too shabby for what they get in return (decent lodging, security, internet access, meal program) but the letter came as a shock.
     
  2. Salty

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    I would say that is the best advice - and the sooner the better.

    That's my 2 cents worth (@29.9% APR)
     
  3. SaggyWoman

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    I know they are separate fees. I know that tuition and books are usually up front costs, and have to be in at the first of the semester or eventually the classes will be dropped.

    Dorm expense is more of an as you go expense, which, they could live anywhere...At any rate, she should call and ask, because I do not remember incurring that, especially if the bill is "current" or accruing now.
     
  4. Gina B

    Gina B
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    I looked again to make sure and it's definitely not a pay as you live there expense. It's one big charge, listing the exact hall and stating that is what the charge is. (different dorms have different costs)
    As long as I was there, I was looking at all the different charges and I'm going to be singing the praises of tech school to my next two! I just keep feeling like we should have known more stuff before. Like "mandatory hourly fees," which almost doubled the tuition rate.
    At least next semester it won't all be so new.
    Unless they have "second semester fees." At the rate this is going, that won't surprise me one bit. :laugh::laugh:
     
  5. FriendofSpurgeon

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    I've never heard of a situation where the college keeps her check and then applies it to the room and board costs, after exhorbitant interest. Seems like it would be better to take out a loan to pay the dorm costs (or pay via a credit card) and then have your daughter take her pay (rather than the college holding it) and have her pay off the loan/credit card. Just a thought.

    Once she moves into being a sophomore, she may want to look at being an RA. Normally, RA's have no dorm costs and may even receive a meal plan and/or small stipend.
     
  6. Gina B

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    It's a program the college has, and does make sense. (the tacked on interest doesn't, imo, if it's what it sounds like on the bill!)
    You have to apply for work study if you want it and they go over your information and your finances and if you qualify and they still have openings, they let you in and you work for the college. They look at your class schedule and schedule your hours around that, usually in one of their restaurants doing food service.

    She did turn down the student loans offered, not wanting to go into debt and neither of us realizing how big this bill would be, though one was offered interest free. The loans are offered per year, and it doesn't look like there's a way to go BACK and change to accepting them. If you know anything about that...she didn't apply, they were whatever they send standard when you accept your college and accept any scholarships and loans, it's all online and that part stays there, what you accepted and didn't accept and how much you accepted for the year. I think it was called Stafford? I'd have to ask. Otherwise, she's looking at something else and I don't even know where to tell her to start. We're really just muddling through all this right now without much of a clue, if you can tell!

    The meal plan is included in the work study, although on the itemized bill, it seems to have it separate. Maybe they just break it down. The bill has about 25 separate listings of fees, it looks broken down and then they apply whatever has been paid and send it out as one mass bill a couple weeks after school starts with the remainder, with the option to click to see a list of the charges and how it all added up to the total.

    I'll tell her about the RA thing! I think she'll probably end up with no fee next time though, if she plays her cards right. They seem to have another program (they have a lot of programs!) where students who do good and have no trouble are offered better living spaces on campus for no tuition and the other residents vote to decide. She was already accepted into a sort of advanced placement (smaller classes, individualized counseling, etc.) based on her high school achievements, so if she keeps it up, that might help her out more next time. I hope.
     
  7. FriendofSpurgeon

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    Interesting. Sounds like a great plan --- except for that interest. Our son has an on-campus job but receives a normal paycheck.

    We have several friends whose students have become RAs and that's a great way to offset costs. In one situation, they receive a free dorm room (with no roommate) and a partial meal plan plus a monthly stipend. Not a bad deal. On the downside, they work for this. They have to deal with freshmen who have never been away from home --- so everything from rowdy behavior issues to lonliness/isolation issues.

    One other item which we all tend to forget. Those annual scholarships look great the first year. Just remember that the amount stays the same each year while there are always increases in tuition.

    Good luck to your daughter. Hope she has a great freshman year.
     
  8. Gina B

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    Thanks. I didn't think about the scholarships staying the same while tuition goes up. I did tell her to keep going for more scholarships like crazy the whole time she's in college.

    The tuition is very reasonable though. If that was the only thing a student paid, it would be pretty amazing.
     
  9. FriendofSpurgeon

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    That's great, as most tuition costs aren't reasonable and they are sometimes the determining factor on where students end up. Sounds like you have everything in gear, but here are a few cost saving ideas.

    1 - Try to have your daughter take a couple of classes at the local community college during the summer. Of course, she would need to work with her advisor to make sure that these credits transfer. However, the costs will normally be much lower than at her university. While the grades will not transfer, the credit hours will. (And the workload is usually a bit easier.)

    2 - Costs of books have gone through the roof - especially if purchased at the university bookstore. Try Amazon, and she can save lots of $$. Also, some universities will let you rent the books. Still expensive, but a whole lot less than buying them -- even buying used books.

    3 - Once she is no longer a freshman, she may be able to get housing off-campus, which may be cheaper than the dorms (which can run $500-$700/month).

    4 - Same with food costs if she moves off campus, where the on-campus meal plans are normally very expensive. Also, she may still be able to get a reduced on-campus meal plan, say ten meals per week.

    Good luck!
     
  10. Gina B

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    Thanks Friend of Spurgeon! I've seen some students do the summer classes at the local community college and wondered about that.
    It's up to her, but my mom self wants her in the dorm. They have security guards and large poles with buttons that sound sirens that you just press if you need help. LOL I really liked the RA idea you brought up.
     

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