Budgeting for your American education - Power Punch Club
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Budgeting for your American education

Have you included travel in your budget?
Creating a budget for your education is always essential in making sure you have enough money to cover not only your education costs but even your living or food expenses. It would be wise to budget the amount required for your first year education in the US well in advance. Of course, it would be immediately after you have been accepted to a university. But thinking about a budget in advance (this is most of the work) and developing a framework to fill in your numbers later, would be the best route to take. It would give you sufficient time to research all your financing options. Budget Summary:
  • Entrance exams like SAT/GRE/TOEFL/GMAT: $500 – $1,500
  • Application Fees (5 universities or more): $250 – $600
  • Tuition: $5,000 – $50,000
  • Room & Board: $7,000 – $15,000
  • Travel Costs: $1,000 – $5,000
  • Books and materials: $700 – $1,500
  • Health Insurance: $500 – $700
  • Personal Expenses: $4000
Let’s look at a budget in detail. Entrance exams: $500 – $1,500 University admission exams such as the SAT, TOEFL, GMAT or the GRE can cost anywhere from $50 to $500. There may be some additional fees for processing, sending your scores to schools, etc. You may have to take the exams multiple times till you are happy with your scores; set aside enough funds to do so. Application Fees: $250 – $600 Each university you apply to will charge a fee to cover their administration and processing costs. These range from $50 to $75 per application. Usually applicants send in as many as five or seven universities. Tuition: $5,000 – $50,000 This will be your major expense. Tuition costs vary greatly from school to school, ranging from $5000 to $50,000. Typically, public schools tend to be cheaper than private schools. Check in with the university you’re admitted at to determine how much should be allocated yearly. Room and Board: $7,000 – $15,000 Most students decide to live in a dormitory or a residence hall for at least the first two academic years. Some school require that freshman live in their dorms during the first year. Usually two or more students share dorm rooms, which provides a great experience in making friends and a partner-in-crime to explore the university together. Some universities provide housing for married students and their families. Off-campus housing will most likely be available as well. Rents for places vary greatly depending on the area. Rental agreements (1 year minimum) tend to include the first month’s rent along with a security deposit (usually same amount as the monthly rent). Travel costs: $1,000 – $5,000 This category contains of travel to from your home country. Investigate ticket prices and account for multiple trips, to be on the safe side. Travel within the U.S. ranges from $150 to $500 per round-trip ticket. Books and materials: $700 – $1,500 You are responsible for purchasing books, notebooks, computers, stationary and other study supplies. On average, expect to spend about $1,000 on books and materials annually. Check out our blog post on purchasing textbooks. Health Insurance: $500 – $700 You will be required to have health insurance before you arrive to the U.S (most universities have this requirement). The first place to check for health insurance is through your university. Compare services and prices offered through your school to those of other organizations and insurance companies. Make sure that your insurance policy and coverage meets the requirements of the school. Usually, most U.S. universities have a medical center that provides examinations or treatment for minor injuries and illnesses for a small fee. However, these services will not substitute for the health insurance requirement. Personal Expenses: $4,000 While at home, you have expenses such as personal care items, medicine, laundry, new clothes, transportation, recreation and entertainment. You will have these same expenses here in the U.S. Most purchases can be made by a debit or credit card; we advise you against carrying large sums of cash anywhere in the U.S. Phew! That’s a lot of money talk. We understand money is important to you, but REMEMBER, you are here to make your future bright while having some fun. Keep a healthy balance between thrifty and fun and your university experience will be a success. Need help easing you into your life in the U.S.? Check out our “Hit the ground running” package here and sign up to ease your worries.

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