You already have the information to take control of your college budget, we’re here to help you with the tools!
What you'll need to start your budgeting sheet:
Copy of your school's un/official financial aid award
List of estimated expenses from school's website (usually called Student Budget)
Hover over the different sections of the sample student budget below to learn more about how your income and your expenses interact. When you’re ready, you can click here to make a copy for your own use.
Sample budget coming soon!
What's the difference between the balance and the direct cost balance?
Direct cost and expenses are fixed numbers that you can expect to be true no matter what. For example, your financial aid and loans are direct income because they are disbursed to you for the exact amount on your aid package. Similarly, tuition is a direct cost because the university will bill you for that amount no matter what. You can't haggle a direct cost!
Indirect costs and expenses are a bit more vague. For example, you can estimate how much you will make in a summer for your indirect income. Indirect expenses are numbers that you predict, like personal expenses or travel, but you might save or spend more depending on different factors
The direct cost balance is the difference between your financial aid and your direct costs, which are billed directly from your school like tuition, fees, and room and board. This number is most useful in determining what your student account will look like, which can help predict if/how much you might get in reimbursement or if you should opt for a payment plan.
The balance is the difference between total cost and total expenses, including your indirect amounts. This balance represents the most complete summary for what your annual student budget will be since includes income like summer job savings and expected expenses like transportation and books.
At the end of the day, it’s helpful if you think of your finances in terms of what you can control, that is, your indirect income and indirect expenses.