Calculating and Budgeting College Expenses

Written by  //  2013/01/04  //  Academics  //  Comments Off on Calculating and Budgeting College Expenses

College students are getting ready for the Fall semester. It is just a few weeks away when millions of student across the country will make their trek to their university of choice.

Several tasks are required to prepare for that journey. Your first important task is calculating the exact costs for attending school. Colleges are required to provide estimated costs upon acceptance at the University. Those costs are estimated costs incur by students from previous years, adjusted for inflation. However, you should budget the amount of financial aid you will need for the academic year. You need to have a spending plan by month to avoid running out of money before the school year ends.

The costs that you should estimate include the following:

  1. School Tuition and Fees:
    cost to attend class instruction and the use of facilities, labs, libraries and all other related services for each enrolled student. Don’t forget to add access fees to campus facilities. Check your class registration.

  2. Books and Supplies:
    the estimated cost for books and supplies the student will be required for classroom instruction. Many students fail to estimate the total cost for books and supplies. Some classroom instructions may require several books and copied outlines that can run up total costs. Make sure you estimate everything that you will need for each classroom.

  3. Computer and Other Electronics:
    not necessarily required for some colleges since they offer computer labs and other shared facilities. However, it will be the student’s advantage to have their own personal laptop. Personal laptops can cost you $1,000 or more for a decent model. And then there is the software, printing, scanning, etc. Understand what you will need for each classroom.

  4. Room and Board:
    the estimated cost for housing and food if you live in a residence hall; if you live off campus,
    the cost for monthly rent, utilities, and food. You need to estimate costs for eating in the cafeteria and other related snacks and beverages.

  5. Transportation:
    the estimated cost for 2-3 round trips from your home to school (you don’t want to spend the winter holidays at school). Additionally, what is going to be your transportation options at school. If you have your personal auto or other motor vehicle, estimate costs for fuel, insurance, parking fees, maintenance, and other related fees. If you are on foot or bicycle, estimate costs for public transportation to get your around town.

  6. Personal Living Expenses:
    the estimated cost for clothing, grooming supplies, laundry and entertainment. Toothpaste, make-up, shampoo, deodorant, etc., can all add up.

  7. Other Personal Costs:
    personal expenses that are specific to the student such as insurance, disability expenses, dependent care, loan
    fees, etc.

  8. Miscellaneous:
    any other expenses that you can identify with your school’s Financial Aid Office

You can estimate and budget these expenses by month using our FREE college budgeting worksheet. Link to our budgeting module for our guide and worksheet.

If You Need Extra Money to Pay Your Estimated College Costs:
students can use private student loans to instantly borrow up to cost of education 2 to pay tuition, housing, computer, and other related college expenses not covered by college aid and parent contribution.

Private student loans are a great resource when you need extra money. Sometimes your college and personal aid will not cover the full cost of education after your run your budgeting analysis. That is when you turn to private student loans to make up the difference from the cost of education and the amount of student financial aid that you have.

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