Money Secrets of Your College Kid
Money Secret #1
Books don't really cost $2,000 per semester. According to CollegeBoard, books for classes cost an average of roughly $1,200 per year. That means $600 per semester. Now that's an average, and if your budding engineer has taken on seven classes, the bookstore bill will likely be fairly high. But if your son or daughter is following a regular course load, he or she shouldn't be spending two grand per semester.
So where is the money going? Sweatshirts. Ipods. Computers. You name it. Bookstores aren't just bookstores these days, and college students know that. Some schools -- like my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania -- allow students to charge their books directly to their bursar bill, but all that you see on the bill is the lump sum, so it's easy to slip in a DVD here and an iHome there. "We learned about it as mere freshmen; we were told it was a convenient way to charge iPods to our unsuspecting parents," wrote a student on a UPenn blog. Well, now you're not so unsuspecting.