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  IDENTIFYING HIDDEN COLLEGE COSTS
  There's more than just college tuition you and your parents have to worry about. Financial aid helps by paying for your actual tuition, but there are other costs that the college doesn't include. Among those are the cost of books, food, entertainment and travel. If you're planning to take a semester abroad you're adding some more costs to your college education. After a while, the bills really start to rack up. Here are a couple tips on how to make paying for everything a little bit easier.

Getting a Job
Working a part-time job while you're in college is actually a really practical and useful idea. A lot of colleges actually offer on-campus employment opportunities. Most of these jobs are relatively simple and the pay is often more than minimum wage. The hours are flexible and the best part is that you don't even need to leave campus. Say you take a job as a desk clerk who checks ID's as students enter into a building. This job pays you to just sit there and do practically nothing. Couldn't you be doing homework while working? Of course!

You also have the option of finding off-campus employment. This can be a problem for some students since they have no mode of transportation. However, if you're in the city or have a car this will definitely work for you. The jobs available are numerous and industries vary from place to place, but you are likely to find something to suit your fancy.

Travel
Getting from home to college can be expensive, especially if you're going to school on the other side of the country. If that's the case, you will most likely be traveling by air or train. A couple web sites you might want to try out are, Priceline.com and Travelocity. ISEcard.com is another organization that provides discounts on travel, accommodations, and entertainment for students.

Entertainment
Going to clubs, bars, movies and concerts can be expensive. Most colleges offer tons of events for their students, it's just a matter of finding out what they are. Check to see if the school you're going to has a schedule of all the on-going events for the month. You'll be surprised at how much there is to do, all for free!

Food
If you aren't eating the school's food, you're spending money out of your own pocket to eat. It is a necessity for any college student to have a mini-refrigerator and a microwave in his or her dorm room. If you have that, you should definitely go grocery shopping to stock up on goods. Ramen noodles are an excellent snack that cooks easily in a microwave. Also, if your dorm is equipped with a full kitchen (check in the basement), make use of it. Gather a group of your friends together, plan a meal, get the ingredients, split the cost and cook it up. You'd be surprised at how cheap cooking your own food is.

Books
This is the one thing that surprises all college students, the price of textbooks. Your professor gives your class a list of about 5 books you need to buy. Later that night you go to the school bookstore and find out that you need to spend $700! If you end up buying them brand new, most schools have a buy back day near the end of the year where they'll buy your used textbooks. If you don't have that money to begin with, try checking out the used textbook section. You'll find that the books there are in pretty good shape and might even have some helpful notes taken by the previous owner. You could also take Tom Green's advice and visit BigWords.com or one of the million bookstores online

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