Extra Expenses for Students

Many students do not consider costs beyond the thousands of dollars charged upfront when renting a dorm, but necessary spending goes up when taking into account food costs, laundry, transportation and school supplies. 

Many crave the opportunity to intimately get to know their school and its surrounding area, but it is hard not to shutter at the thought of shelling out the money to experience living in an on-campus dorm. 

The average undergraduate student at the University of Cincinnati pays around $11,000 a year just to attend the university. This number doubles once dorm and meal plan expenses are added. 

According to UC’s 2015-16 housing and meal plan rates, housing and meal packages range anywhere from $10,716 to $13,050 a year, depending on how many people students live with and where they plan to stay.

Meal plans are not required with a room. Without a meal plan, rooms range from between $6,000 to $8,000.

A Gallup Poll found that in 2012 found that the average American spends $151 on food each week, which is the equivalent of $604 a month.

This is a pretty scary chunk of money to think about by itself. But what are some other expenses people might not initially take into account when thinking about on-campus housing?


Every residence hall at UC is equipped with a laundry room — Daniels Hall even has two. 

Although the university is charging thousands of dollars to live on campus, it does not provide free laundry services. 

A load of laundry costs $3.25. These prices decrease by about 25 cents when using a Bearcat Card.


While it might be great to be on campus, eventually students need to get away from it and go somewhere else.

Assuming a student owns a car, they can fork over somewhere between $400 and $800 a year for a parking pass to keep their car in a garage on campus. 

Another method of getting around is to utilize public transportation. 

A 30-day bus pass will run students anywhere from $70 to $170, depending on where they need to go. An average UC student could buy $70 pass, as those include buses traveling within Cincinnati.

Using the bus sparingly, however, is fairly affordable. A day pass with unlimited rides around Cincinnati is only $4.50.

Another fun way to get around is by bike, whether it is your own or one of the Red Bikes around the city. Red Bike is a bike sharing system that is affordable and convenient.

The day-pass rate for the bikes is a little high at $8, but an annual pass is only $80. A 120-day semester rate is offered at $30. 

Books and Supplies

What list about college expenses would be complete without mentioning books? 

In 2014, the College Board estimated the average college student spends around $1,200 on books and supplies, with single textbooks costing up to $200.

This is not taking into account special cases, like any student within UC’s school of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning who has to consistently restock extremely expensive supplies just to be able to complete coursework. 

When thinking about living on campus and stressing yourself out planning a budget, be sure to consider the extra things you will be spending money on besides just housing.