Budgeting on financial aid is very different from real-world budgeting. Instead of using your income to determine what you can spend, you must add up what you will spend to determine how much income (financial aid) you will need.
You can use the Cost of Attendance budget to get a rough idea of the maximum you can safely spend on living expenses for the upcoming year. But before you request loans, use our budget worksheet to break down your living expenses and determine how much you actually need to borrow. Try to do this before you are locked into rent.
We also suggest that you project your borrowing over four years and visit www.finaid.org/calculators and use their loan calculator to help you estimate your future repayment amounts.
While the living allowances in the budgets represent moderate medical student costs, many of our students tell us they live on less than we allow. The living expenses portion of the Cost of Attendance Budget is based on the following maximum figures:
|Rent/utilities (incl internet, laundry,
phone, and renter's insurance)
|Food and household supplies||$300|
(incl clothing, routine medical, recreation)
The Financial Aid Office will hold a "Money Talks" Budgeting seminar for first-year students in October. We strongly suggest that all students who are borrowing money for living expenses attend this seminar.
Incoming students should bring enough money with them to last until mid-September. Even if you are expecting financial aid, you should bring enough money with you to cover "setting up" expenses such as security deposits, utility connection charges, first rent payment, purchase of initial household supplies and food. Financial aid for fall living expenses will not be available until approximately ten days after the tuition due date in August.
Money management can be tricky for financial aid recipients, who receive their funds in one lump sum at the beginning of each semester. Disbursements will always occur in August and January - but second- and third-year students especially should keep in mind that means the fall semester is shorter than the spring semester (August-January = 5 months, January-August = 7 months). You should have money left over at the end of the fall semester to use in the spring, to get through until the following August. Additionally, second-years will need to set aside money to pay for the USMLE Step 1 (~$560) and third-years will need to pay for Step 2 CK (~$560) and Step 2 CS (~$1,200) in November.
Fourth-year students need to budget for interview costs and travel to take Step 2 CS. Interview costs are NOT part of the Cost of Attendance budget. Although there are private loans available to help with these costs, they have less attractive terms than federal or school loans. Saving some financial aid proceeds each year to use toward interviewing will result in your being able to leave school with less debt. Also, although your loan period ends in May, your money may need to stretch well beyond graduation as you will probably not receive your first residency pay until mid-July or early August.
All students should try to save a minimum of $50 per month for emergencies such as car repairs, trips home, etc. It is also important to hold back money for expenses that occur less frequently than monthly.
Money-management counseling is available! Your assigned financial aid counselor will help you develop a budget and identify discretionary costs that can be reduced so that you can live within your resources. If you find that you can live on less than what you have borrowed, talk with your counselor about reducing your loans, especially if you have unsubsidized or Graduate PLUS loans.
Budget Worksheet (PDF for those without Excel)
Quick Budget Worksheet (if your resources are relatively fixed - not borrowing loans)