Budget & Lifestyle Planning

Managing your costs during your graduate studies

Borrow with a vision for your future. Take a proactive approach and exercise prudent borrowing strategies, especially if you are relying on loans as a primary source of financial assistance. You will have more disposable income in the future and will be better able to enjoy the freedom to achieve your professional goals. The benefits of a graduate education are more than just financial, and you will reap those benefits for your remaining working years. When you reduce your cost of education through financial self-discipline, planning, and applying for all available aid, your investment becomes all the more valuable. Keep these factors in mind and weigh the benefits - both tangible and intangible - against the cost you will incur. This way, when you begin your graduate education, you can be confident that you have made the best investment decision for your future.

Annual Cost of Attendance Budget

Federal regulations govern the creation of the student cost of attendance budget and dictate that it cover only expenses incurred during periods of enrollment and may include only education-related expenses.

The figures below represent the maximum budget you may be allowed to request in federal loans. Tuition and fees are the only mandatory charges. Students may opt to take loans for the other listed budget items based on individual financial circumstances.

2020-2021 Cost of Attendance Budget - Full-Time enrollment (9+ credits)
TuitionVaries based on program
Student Fees$900
Living Expenses (details below)$18,200
Loan Fees$216

Living Expense Details (10-month budget)

Books and supplies$1,200
Housing$8,650
Transportation$2,150
Miscellaneous/Personal$6,200
Total$18,200
2020-2021 Cost of Attendance Budget - Half-time enrollment (5+ credits)
TuitionVaries based on program
Student Fees$300
Living Expenses (details below)$17,600
Loan Fees$216

Living Expense Details (10-month budget)

Books and supplies$600
Housing$8,650
Transportation$2,150
Miscellaneous/Personal$6,200
Total$17,600
2020-2021 Cost of Attendance Budget - Half-time online enrollment (5+ credits)
TuitionVaries based on program
Student Fees$270
Living Expenses (details below)$17,600
Loan Fees$216

Living Expense Details (10-month budget)

Books and supplies$600
Housing$8,650
Transportation$2,150
Miscellaneous/Personal$6,200
Total$17,600

Ways to Reduce Expenses While in Graduate School

  • Pay off prior consumer debt
  • Share Housing
  • Limit eating out
  • Use the University’s athletic facility instead of costly private facilities
  • Buy used books
  • Seek summer employment and other sources of funding
  • Purchase school-sponsored medical insurance
  • Utilize the free university shuttle service and reduce transportation costs

By making adjustments to your lifestyle now, you reduce the impact student loan payments will have on your lifestyle after you graduate. This should be part of your financial plan for graduate studies.

Please contact the Graduate Financial Aid Office with any questions at 401-254-4510 or gradfinaid@rwu.edu.