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Weenie or anyone - a Denison cost question

Lewis1212Lewis1212 Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
edited March 2006 in Denison University
As we weigh our financial options as well as admissions decisions for various colleges.....

Have you found that the estimated total cost of attendance given on the Denison website for things like personal expenses and books has been fairly accurate? I know its very individual and obviously some kids will have more spending money than others, but in general have the cost of books and typical campus incidentals been about what's estimated? Have you been "surprised" by any expenses you weren't expecting during the year?

Also, regarding books, are the required textbook lists released early enough to search for bargains on sites like Ebay or Amazon Marketplace, or are you stuck buying at the campus bookstore in order to have them in time for class? I have to buy textbooks for my kids now in High school, and I find that I can often find much better deals searching online than paying even the "used" price through the official service (my best deal has been paying less than $5 for a book that was selling for $95 used!).
Post edited by Lewis1212 on

Replies to: Weenie or anyone - a Denison cost question

  • weenieweenie Registered User Posts: 5,793 Senior Member
    I wondered the same thing about textbooks and I've found that my son ends up buying them at the last minute from the bookstore. They do usually have used books available though. I do not know of a mechanism for getting a book list early. He seems to spend about $300/semester so far.

    I know what you mean about the high school books. My kids go to a Jesuit HS and the AP books get really expensive. I too buy them on Ebay or Amazon, but they always give us at least a month's notice.

    My son started in September with about $1,000 of his own money. We paid for his room and board, his plane tickets, and clothes/shoes. He still has about $500 left, so he has not spent much. (He may have pocketed some money selling back his books.) I know he eats out every Friday night at a place in town (pub food) and he has to pay for laundry, and he buys some food to cook on his own. He does not have a car. He does pitch in for gas when his club sport travels and some other kid has to drive.

    "Start up costs" such as a computer (ouch), bedding, new clothes, refrigerator, dorm stuff etc. can feel a little painful...

    Spending money is tricky -- kids who party (drink, smoke pot) can spend a LOT of money. (I know that because some of my friends can't figure out how their kids blow through $400 in a few weeks -- I think, well, duh!)

    I think the only "surprise," and it isn't really a surprise, has been the cost of flying home. It really is pretty expensive, but fairly easy to predict. There have been some trips my son thought about going on, but he decided they were too expensive. One was a ski trip someplace that was going to cost $75. I thought it was cheap!

    Well, that's all I can think of!
  • flatlanderflatlander Registered User Posts: 258 Junior Member
    My sophomore daughter received a very generous scholarship and financial aid package (thank you, thank you Denison!), which has helped with her tuition and textbook expenses. She's an English/Communications major, which I believe is one of the less expensive majors in terms of book costs. (There's a bookstore in Granville that sells used fiction/non-fiction - no textbooks, though.)

    She's also in work-study, helping tutor in Newark elementary schools, which helps her with expenses. She does not have a car, but lots of her friends do, and she has use of Denison vehicles to get to and from her work. She has not missed having a car there, because the lovely town of Granville is a 5-minute walk (10 minutes on the way back - it's all uphill!) away.

    Travel expenses are definitely something to think about - it adds up quickly! I am lucky Southwest flies out of Columbus; it's much cheaper than driving, as I am a good 500 miles away from Denison.

    Many students, including my daughter, store all their 'stuff' in lockers over the summer, which adds a bit to the cost of going to college - something we did not think about when she was a senior. If your son/daughter decides to join a frat/sorority, the dues and related expenses can top $1,000 per year

    Like Weenie said, students can spend a lot or a little at college, depending on where their $$$$ go. My daughter is probably on the low side of the equation, as she knew before she went to college that she would not be getting an allowance from me. (Although I do send her a surprise $20 every now and then.)

    Hope this helps.
  • FresnoMomFresnoMom Registered User Posts: 1,044 Senior Member
    weenie and flatlander

    great info! thanks!
  • Lewis1212Lewis1212 Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
    Thank you, that's very helpful! My DD is not a partier at all but I could definitely see that mall you described earlier being a major attraction! And of course clothing and shoes requirements can be an involved negotiation. She generally shops frugally but thinks that anytime she sees something that's a good deal she should buy it, regardless of whether she already has 400 other similar items (but I didn't have THIS shade of blue, and it was only $7....)
    She will be working over the summer and is expected to save her own spending money for next year, so it will be interesting to see how she approaches budgeting when on her own. I suspect she will actually be more conservative when its her own money and it has to last, but it may be a learning experience.

    I marked "no" for work study on the FAFSA simply because going into her first year and being on the swim team as well (they practice about 20 hours/week) we were concerned about her being overwhelmed with too much while also trying to make friends and just adjust in general. But if she needs to come up with more $$, she may need to consider getting some type of job on campus or in town later in the year. She also won't have a car----don't know if they allow them for freshmen but we've already warned her that she's not going to have one either way.
    Weenie and Flatlander, how often do your children fly home for visits during the year?
  • weenieweenie Registered User Posts: 5,793 Senior Member
    Lewis:
    My son flew home all three breaks; Thanksgiving, Christmas, and March. Many many kids at Denison are flying home at break, so they all know the routine (signing up for the shuttle -- which they demand that the kids sign up for one that gets them to the airport 2 hours prior to their flight).

    We are about a seven hour drive, so by the time we drive and stay overnight it costs about the same to fly. His ticket runs $200 to $260, and I do the reservations. I try really hard to provide for LONG layovers at his transfer airport (usually Detroit) because I'm stressed that he'll get stuck someplace.

    Of course, he's the kid who lost all his clothes (which I posted endlessly about in the Parent Cafe) at Xmas when US Air lost his suitcase, so that was a BIG pain and cost me some extra money (although we did eventually get a check from US Air for all but about $400). He's learned to carry on! He also broke his computer first flight home (fixed under extended warranty) and also had his luggage delayed a couple days then delivered to campus...Anyway, they learn the ins and outs of traveling on their own!!! I still think it's way less stressful than having him drive or ride with another kid.

    By the way, lots of kids start out not working and then get a job second semester. I think it's smart to see how she feels about her time. My son claims he doesn't have time for a job. I'm not so sure but, well if he runs out of money he may change his tune.
  • flatlanderflatlander Registered User Posts: 258 Junior Member
    My daughter has come home for all the breaks, although she has had opportunities for 'road trips' with her college friends. I've noticed as time goes on, she brings less and less home - she's now an accomplished carry-on traveler.

    For this summer, she plans to store most of her stuff at a storage locker and just bring home her summer clothes and laptop so she can fly home. That will save me a lot of time and money, as I won't have to make the 1,000-mile, overnight round trip. I admit I will miss eating Whit's chocolate frozen custard in Granville, which is almost worth making the trip!

    flatlander
  • weenieweenie Registered User Posts: 5,793 Senior Member
    flatlander: Where is the rental place? Maybe we should think about that. And, I haven't had that ice cream yet!
  • rixrix Registered User Posts: 145 Junior Member
    The frozen custard might close the deal for us! I wish we had known about it when we visited in Feb. We definitely would have sampled it, despite the freezing weather. Out here in Northern Calif, good soft serve is scare.
  • flatlanderflatlander Registered User Posts: 258 Junior Member
    Oh, Weenie - you are in for a treat! Whit's Frozen Custard is on the main drag (East Broadway?), across the street from the book store. It really is the best ice cream I've ever tasted; the signature flavor is Buckeye something, which is chocolate with peanut butter. It's softer than regular ice cream - true frozen custard.

    My daughter rented a place with two friends somewhere in Newark, although I know there's a storage place in Granville. I think it fills up fast, though, and is probably a little more expensive than those in Newark. I think the rate for the storage locker my daughter rented was about $200 for the whole summer, which split three ways wasn't too expensive.
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