What Are College Fees?

If you’re in college, you’ve likely seen the term “tuition and fees” all over your financial aid paperwork. “Tuition” seems pretty clear — it’s the basic cost(s) of your classes — but what exactly counts as “fees”?

For good or for bad, the term “fees” is pretty vague and can be used as an all-inclusive term for a variety of costs. Unlike “room and board,” which are costs associated with living and eating on campus, “fees” can be used to cover anything related to your education and attendance at your institution.

For example, fees can include additional charges for student health insurance, getting your student ID, special classes (think: lab fees), add/drop fees, late registration fees, and pretty much anything else your institution charges for. Some fees, like a student ID fee, can be mandatory; other fees, like a student health insurance fee, might be waived (if, for example, you can prove you have health insurance coverage through your parents). And while you might not want to pay certain fees or may find them outright ridiculous, they are all considered part of your educational expenses. As such, you’ll be expected to pay them when appropriate and as needed.