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Here’s What To Expect From That First College Tuition Bill

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College freshmen nationwide will be hitting the quads later this month.

But before they do, there’s the matter of those pesky, unescapable tuition bills.

While some lucky students have earned academic or athletic scholarships, most students and parents must craft funding strategies to deal with the ever-growing costs of a college education.

Here are some tips on what to expect from that first college tuition bill.


Paper tuition bills are largely a thing of the past; schools now use online information systems. Emails indicate when bills are ready. After submitting payments, students can check back to make sure their balances have been updated accordingly.


It wouldn’t be a tuition bill without explaining what you’re paying for, now would it? The bill includes a rundown of tuition expenses, room and board costs and miscellaneous items like wellness center fees, lab fees and student activity costs.

It’s important to review each item on the tuition bill. Some colleges automatically charge students for health insurance, an unnecessary expense if students are covered by their parents. And make sure the meal plan costs align with the plan you chose.


The final amount due on a tuition bill accounts for costs, minus credits like scholarships, grants and financial aid. Students should review each entry on the list.

Students should have already received award letters for each type of credit. Compare these letters to what’s on the bill to make sure the bill is accurate. If it isn’t, contact your institution’s financial aid office as soon as possible.

Due Date

You don’t want to overlook this. Failing to pay a bill on time can result in penalties that range from flat fees to percentages of the total bill.

Next Steps

Many families struggle with what they can pay out of pocket and what’s available through scholarships, grants and financial aid. In such instances, parents can consider taking out federal loans or asking the school for an installment payment plan. Students can also turn to private loans, though many underclassmen don’t have the credit history to secure them without a co-signer.

AAA Northeast has student lending professionals to help you understand college funding options. You can check out informational webinars, too. Click here to check it out.

Do you know what student loans will and will not cover? Click here to continue your student loan education, then leave a comment if you’ve got any advice navigating the student lending landscape. 

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