Soon-to-be parents are shocked at the fees required just to apply to day care and preschools money that is due before your baby ever gets a spot.
Consumer expert Amy Davis has the questions you need to ask.
There are application fees, security deposits and registration fees some due months before your child is expected to attend the day cares and schools.
And there are no rules or laws that require the business to return your money-even when your child doesn't land a spot.
So as you are looking at potential day cares you need to ask:
What are the fees that I am expected to pay?
Are they refundable? And in what circumstance?
Most day cares require an application fee that is not refundable. It helps cover the cost of school tours and processing the paperwork.
If a registration fee is requested, you need to know if that money will be applied to your tuition or your first monthly payment.
If you pay a security deposit when you apply, ask if you will get it back if your child is on a waitlist but you change your mind before a spot opens up. In many cases, you lose that money.
And if you pay a security deposit and your child enrolls, some schools hold the deposit in case you don't give notice when you pull your child out of the day care.
If you do give the required notice, you get your refund back. But the rules vary from school to school.
So before you hand over any money, get these details in writing.
On the day care's side, one owner told me that some businesses require the deposit to make sure the parents are serious and not holding up a spot on a waitlist that could go to someone else.