So you thought that tuition fees, books, and living expenses is all. You may get a fairly accurate idea of tuition fees, but estimating lodging and boarding expenses is not so easy. And there are several other types of costs that parents often forget to consider.
Apparent costs of College/University
These are the apparent costs paid directly to the institute, such as tuition fee, admission fee, administrative fees, and books and supplies.
It's the fee your college or university charges you for attending the classes. In some institutes this would be a flat fee per semester/year, which means whether you take extra courses/credits or not you still pay the same flat rate. Whereas in some other institutes this fee depends on how many subjects/credits you are taking. In case your institute counts fee based no credit hours, you could take 60 hours per semester as an approximation.
Most of the institutes do collect some sort of administrative fee. It might be a flat fee that everybody has to pay, or it might be some special charges that you have to pay for courses/activities you chose. For example, when you choose to be a member of a sports-club, you might have to pay additional fees for using the sports facilities. Or if you are studying Chemistry, you might need to pay a laboratory deposit. These fees are normally between $50 to $100 range for a year.
Books and Supplies
You may need 10 to 15 different books for a typical college semester. You could buy brand-new books or used books at a discounted price. Normally used books are available at a 40% to 50% discount. Keep in mind that you could sell your books at the end of the year and may get around half of the price back, of course depending on condition of books. Other supplies could be journals, notebooks, photocopies, lab tools, printing costs etc. For a typical college semester, you could safely estimate this cost to be around $500, which is around $1000 per year.
Lodging and Boarding Expenses
Simply put, these are the expenses for food and shelter. These costs vary a lot from country to country, and city to city. It also depends on type of housing: dormitory, private apartment, shared apartment, etc. But take it to be around $8000 a year. Same goes with food expense; it depends on whether you are cooking or eating out. You could estimate it around $5000 a year. We didn't count parties, picnics, and late night outings in this :-).
And here are the costs you didn't think about
The cost of travelling from local residence to campus and back. For students living on campus this is zero. For others it depends on mode of travel. Students may get discount in public transit facilities. If you are using a car, you need to count parking fees, too. Also consider the cost of travelling back home during breaks and vacations.
Fees here include monthly shopping of necessary things, laundry bills, outings and social activities, cafeteria etc. Even most frugal students would spend some money while being with their group of friends at school.
Internet and Telephone Expenses
Higher education without a computer is unimaginable. Colleges sometimes do provide free Wi-Fi connection on campus, but you definitely need one at home. And surely people can't live without mobile phones, which is also a considerable monthly expense.
Health and Fitness
While studying, it is highly recommended to have a health insurance to cover unexpected medical expenses. Besides, health-conscious students may want to join a gym, sports-club, yoga class, or some sort of fitness activity, which needs to be paid monthly.
Yes, a few more things, for example: cable TV, heating/cooling systems in housing, electricity, gas, library membership, students' club membership, industrial visit or mandatory internship in summer vacation in another town, students' welfare committee fees, contributing to welcome party for freshmen and farewell party of last year students, and so on so forth...