Your Educational Budget and Federal Loans Author: John Nowly
The educational budget, also called the student budget, holds about the same level of importance as the EFC. Think about all the things that you will need financially during the school year. Colleges take the sum of those things, and lump them together as your educational budget. Schools take your student budget, and subtract your EFC to determine the amount of financial aid you will be awarded. So, its obviously something you should be very familiar with.
Now, you've probably already guessed that a student budget has to include your tuition and room and board. But, did you know that there is a number calculated for those students who are not living on campus? The amount will differ based on your living situation. For example, are you living on your own, or do you intend to live with your parents while you go to school? Or, do you plan to live on campus?
There are four main sections which comprise the student budget. The first is tuition. Then comes living expenses, transportation, and finally personal expenses. One piece that could be included under the subtitle of tuition is the cost of your books and fees. Its impossible to predict the exact amount your books will cost. After all, you might be the one taking Biochemistry while someone else is taking a course in composition. Your books will most likely be more expensive. So, to make things even, an average cost of books is added into the student budget. Do not worry, you'll probably be the one taking creative writing next year, while your friend is struggling through statistics! Other fees could include your student body card, the yearbook, or your application fee.
We've briefly discussed room and board, or living expenses, but here are a few more examples. How about your home or renters insurance, your phone bill, the internet bill, and your utilities? An educational budget has to take all of these things into consideration. After all, you do have to survive outside of your classes, and its very possible that your classes could prevent you from working a full, or part-time job.
Transportation should be self-explanatory, but if its not, let me briefly touch on its importance. The amount of transportation is certainly going to differ if you are a student who lives on-campus. But what if you are not? Will you be taking the bus, or driving your car? And, if you are driving your car, how will you pay for gas, car insurance, and car maintenance? For those students who have traveled long distances, there is the concern about flights home at different times throughout the year. These are all issues which would fall under the category of transportation.
Finally, we have the personal section. You may think we've covered everything, but for both the on-campus and off-campus student, there are other things to consider. Under personal, we would be looking at your recreation time, your health insurance, childcare if applicable, life insurance, laundry, and clothing.