Upon receiving their first university tuition notices, many students are shocked and confused to see a dozen or so extra lines of fees tacked on to their bills, in addition to standard tuition costs. At many schools, some of these are avoidable, by living off-campus or opting out of certain programs, but some are also simply mandatory, and support college operations. New college students should be sure to read their billing statements carefully, and be sure they understand what they are paying for. Here are a few common extra fees students may find on this year's bill:
1. Lab fees are charged by many institutions to any student taking a course which requires routine use of a science laboratory. This fee typically covers supplies for lab work, and pays for upkeep and improvement of the university's laboratories. In general, the only way to avoid paying lab costs is to avoid taking classes which require lab use.
2. Health fees have also become common at both public and private schools, and generally go toward the costs of a student health clinic. Some schools allow students to opt out of paying health fees by submitting proof of insurance coverage, or by simply giving up the right to utilize student health services. However, the convenience and low-cost of a campus health clinic is often worth the fee, particularly for students without insurance or transportation.
3. Student activity fees are standard among all academic institutions. The funds from these payments cover campus performances, parties, and student clubs, and are often managed by a school's student government. At some universities, it may be possible for students living off-campus to avoid paying activity fees.
4. Technology fees, charged especially by smaller colleges, tend to cover the upkeep and maintenance of campus computer and advanced technology labs, as well as computer repair centers for student usage. Technology fees are inescapable at most schools.
5. Material costs are now charged for most any art, architecture, or technology courses, and for some others. These costs cover the wholesale price of any supplies used in the class, and usually can't be avoided except by special arrangements with professors.