19 Mar

College Selection: Part 2 – Hidden Costs of College

You’re aware of the line item costs associated with higher education. Tuition, fees, books and supplies apply to all students while meals and housing only apply to students who are attending school full-time away from home. To steal a quote from Donald Rumsfeld, these are “known unknowns.” You have a feeling there are extra costs are out there, but how many hidden costs of college can you list?

Sneaky sources of cash depletion include but are not limited to:

  • Club sports: There are intramural sports, often associated with the college’s recreational center (whose fee is a line item) and there are official college teams. Club sports occupy a middle ground that is more competitive than intramural sports, but not as much of a time commitment as official college sports endeavors. Participation in club sports is booming. Why? With more than 40 million children playing organized sports, more students are graduating from high school with extensive athletic interest and skills but fewer than 5 percent, are good enough to play a varsity college sport. That leaves a lot of students still in search of a competitive outlet and place for camaraderie. Consider the costs of traveling to games and tournaments in other cities and states. Dead set on participating? Consider raising the money first or dedicating money from a part-time job for this purpose.
  • Fraternities and Sororities: This is hard to pin down but The University of Central Florida, the second largest university with a Greek system in the country, publishes cost comparisons of all its fraternities and sororities. According the most recent data, the average new sorority member will pay $1,280 per semester and the average fraternity member will pay $605 per semester, not including room and board. The higher costs for sororities are associated with gift giving and formal attire.
  • Parking Permits: Many college students and especially those commuting to school bring their cars. For a few local examples, parking costs at the University of Colorado at Boulder parking will run you $16/week or $576 for 9 months. Parking costs at UNC in Greeley vary widely but range from $227 – $768 a year.

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14 Mar

Outrageous Bank Fees Outlawed at RMLEFCU

According to Bankrate.com’s most recent annual survey, consumers now pay an average of $4.52 per transaction to use an ATM network that their bank isn’t part of, an increase of 21 percent over the past five years.

As a member of RMLEFCU you benefit from our partnership with MoneyPass®. Their ATM network gives RMLEFCU members access to tens of thousands of surcharge-free ATMs nationwide. Finding ATMs is easy when you visit their site and enter your zip code or install an app on your iPhone or Android.

Better yet, if you have a free Kasasa Cash® or free Kasasa Cash Back® checking account with us we’ll refund your ATM fees nationwide.

A few other fees that many big banks charge that you won’t incur with RMLEFCU:

  • Early Account Closure Fee – U.S. Bank, HSBC, and PNC Bank charge a $25 fee to close an account that has been open for fewer than 180 days.
  • Monthly or Annual Maintenance Fee: Many banks charge these and only waive them if you jump through 10 hoops, clap three times and say, “There’s no place like Big Bank X.”
  • Minimum Balance Fee: We understand that life happens and balances fluctuate. But charging you when you don’t have money is akin to offering a drowning man a dumbbell.

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06 Mar

College Selection: Part 1: It’s all relatively social

This post is not just for 18-year-olds faced with what the next 2-5 years will hold. It is for anyone who is considering college to advance their career, switch gears, and go a completely different direction. Or for parents of said 18-year-olds who need to convince their offspring that selecting a college is their first major life decision deserving of careful consideration.

There is a three pronged approach you can follow. If you work through all three areas, you’ll cover the most crucial aspects of the college experience. In this first blog post, we’ll cover all things social that are involved in selecting a college. Subsequent blog posts will address financial and academic considerations. Let’s begin!



Are you picking a college based on what you’ve heard from other people? This approach is appropriate when selecting a restaurant on any given weeknight, but to trust the anecdotal evidence of friends or acquaintances concerning where you will spend an inordinate amount of time, effort, and money – it does not bode well.

For the high school seniors. The college is in an exciting city. I hate to tell you but this is not a Woody Allen movie with you in the starring role. You left for college to get an education and a degree – not to be an unpaid arts and events blogger. While its beneficial to have culture nearby, you need to plan the majority of your time around your studies.

‘So and so is going there.’ As much as you value your high school friendships and relationships, selecting a college is a deeply personal decision that only YOU can make. You may think people don’t change but when it comes to who you were at 18 versus who you are as a college senior, there will be a shift in what is important to you and who is important to you.

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