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Student Budget Calculator

The Student Budget Calculator is a great tool to use to determine how much money you, or your child, will need during the next college term. To use this financial tool you will need to estimate how much will be needed for school, meals, housing, various fees, transportation, entertainment and travel, loan payments, gifts, savings and investments, miscellaneous items, and toiletries. The calculator will also take into account what's available from scholarships, grants, loans, savings, family contributions, student earnings and the like to determine if funds are sufficient to cover expenses and if not, the amount of the shortfall.

Student Budget Calculator Overview

The cost of a college education is not limited to the cost of tuition and books alone. It also involves the cost of lodging, food, transportation, insurance and miscellaneous expenses.

Most students who enter college aren't prepared to handle the financial planning and budgeting that is required during the school year, and to tell the truth, most parents are not ready to do this either. One way to get a good idea of how much money a student will need during the school year is to use our Student Budget Calculator.


How to use the Student Budget Calculator

It's pretty straightforward; just follow these steps:

  1. Under ‘Your expenses’, click the [ ] icon on each section
  2. For each expense that you enter, you can choose for it to be a one-off payment at the beginning of either semester, both semesters, or every month. For example, your tuition costs will more than likely be one payment for the entire year, but the amount you spend on groceries would be easier to calculate in monthly terms.
  3. Once you have filled out all your expenses, expand the Contributions and Income section by pressing the [ ] button
  4. Include every dollar that you have available to contribute to your college costs here. As before, you can specify whether you will receive the money at the start of the school year (for example, your savings), at the start of each semester (like your student loan), or monthly (such as regular money from family)
  5. Click "View Report" to see an overview of your spending over the coming year and how it related to your income. This can be printed if you so choose, or you can click Hide Report and make some adjustments if you are coming in over budget.
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Who is this Calculator for?

This calculator is most useful if you:

  • Are a student who is beginning college soon
  • Would like to ensure that you will have enough money to get through a year in college
  • Are a parent or family member of a student and would like to help them with their financial planning for the coming year.

Where can I get more information about student loans?

Start with our Ultimate Student Loans Guide. If you have questions around paying for college in other ways, check out our College Finance Guide.

For general advice on student life, including some great tips and tricks to help you save and make money while studying, head on over to our Student Area. We invite you to submit a tip of your own; the best one each month wins a $200 Amazon gift card!

I want to help my child pay for college, but don’t have savings – what can I do?

In situations like this, it is always tough. Parents and other family members will always want what is best for their children, and not being able to afford higher education is a problem faced by all too many. One possible way you can achieve it though, is by using your home equity to pay for college.  Follow the link to read more about it and click "Get FREE Quote" to find some lenders who may be able to help you.