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Constructing Graduate Student Budgets Darrell Nabers Graduate and Professional Issues Committee Chair, ILASFAA Analyst, University of Chicago- Pritzker.

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Presentation on theme: "Constructing Graduate Student Budgets Darrell Nabers Graduate and Professional Issues Committee Chair, ILASFAA Analyst, University of Chicago- Pritzker."— Presentation transcript:

1 Constructing Graduate Student Budgets Darrell Nabers Graduate and Professional Issues Committee Chair, ILASFAA Analyst, University of Chicago- Pritzker School of Medicine

2 Overview of Presentation… What is a student budget? How does federal law affect the construction of a student budget? What institutional variables ‘drive’ student budgets? Review of common budget items Tips to determine the most accurate COA for students Beyond COA: what are the options?

3 What is a Student Budget? Defined as-the total of the educational costs for a student Why do students and FA officers often differ on the application of this definition? Reality is: COA=Cost of Attendance=Anticipated or Estimated Student Budget

4 What (some) Students Think… FAO is budgeting for THEIR individualized expenses FAO is responsible for budgeting items they claim are for the benefit of their education, or have been used for their education: IE, loan costs from undergraduate study, credit card bills, car payments, expenses related to care for family members, even mortgages!

5 Federal Regulations on Budgets How the Feds define COA: An institution may use title IV, HEA program funds to credit a student’s account at the institution to satisfy current year charges for: Tuition and Fees Room and board With student’s authorization, educationally related charges incurred by the student

6 Budget ‘Drivers’ How an institution defines COA is often determined by certain criteria, for example: Term, Quarter, or other enrollment status Housing Residency Program of study Or in many cases-‘One size fits all’

7 Common Budget Components Often charges are directly billed to the student. These include: Tuition Billable Fees On Campus Housing Books and Classroom Supplies Insurance All Students are required to pay these costs Waivers accepted for some of these charges on case by case basis

8 Common Budget Components The most common ‘anticipated’ expenses considered COA allowances often include: Off Campus Housing Personal Expenses Transportation Required Testing Fees

9 What are Allowances? Allowances increase COA Allowances increase opportunities for students to borrow Allowances increase potential for debt Allowances should be accessible for ALL students who are >or = H/T Allowances should be reviewed each year for accuracy of estimation

10 Determining Allowances Sources for Determining Room and Board Allowances: Institutional comparison of by division/school If services are on-campus, then this can be directly billed in lieu of allowance Local rental listing comparisons Online surveys (survey monkey, etc) Higher Ed data repositories, i.e. Dept. of Labor BLS

11 Determining Allowances Using Indicators Cost-of-living index A cost-of-living index measures differences in the price of goods and services, and allows for substitutions to other items as prices change Consumer Price index A consumer price index measures a price change for a constant market basket of goods and services from one period to the next within the same city (or in the Nation) The CPIs are not true cost-of-living indexes and should not be used for place-to-place comparisons

12 Basis of Analysis for COL Indicators Analysis involves constructing reasonable arguments for or against an increase in cost of living (COL) allowances Indexing involves the collection and comparison of tangible or data driven ‘proof’, or indicators, to substantiate your arguments Some indexing variables include: Consumer Price Index –local affect of prices on consumers Inflation-national affect of prices on consumers Tuition and other billable item increases (and the % of COA in budget that makes up these expenses)-direct affect of price increases for students

13 Example of Living Expense Analysis Using COL Indexing Use CPI to test cost of common items students use that are not directly billed, i.e. Coffee Utilities, like natural gas and electricity Produce Determine % of increase/decrease in cost of these items over a defined period Average increase/decrease of coffee in 2007 (BLS Database Link)BLS Database Link

14 Example of Living Expense Analysis Using CPI YearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecAnnual Series Id: APU Area: U.S. city average Item: Coffee, 100%, ground roast, all sizes, per lb. (453.6 gm

15 Example of Living Expense Analysis Using CPI CPI-U, US City Average, All Items: (NSA) +0.3% in Feb 2008 (SA) unchanged in Feb 2008 (NSA) +4.0% since Feb 2007 CPI-U, US City Average, All Items Less Food and Energy: (NSA) +0.3% in Feb 2008 (SA) unchanged in Feb 2008 (NSA) +2.3% since Feb 2007 CPI-U, US City Average, Medical Care: (NSA) +0.5% in Feb 2008 (SA) +0.1% in Feb 2008 (NSA) +4.5% since Feb » SA- Seasonally Adjusted » NSA- Not Seasonally Adjusted » Click on the icon for 10 years of historical data

16 Other Methods of Determining Shifts in COL Inflation has been defined as a process of continuously rising prices, or equivalently, of a continuously falling value of money Using Tuition and other billable costs as a measure of inflation is often the fastest way to determine if an increase to COL allowances are necessary Use an Inflation Calculator at:

17 Beyond Basic COA Certain items can be considered ‘add-on’ allowances: Dependent care expenses Study abroad or selected programs of study Disability related expenses Loan fees Computer purchase or rental Car repairs Medical expenses

18 Beyond Basic COA What is NOT COA (and should not be considered for a budget increase): The purchase of a car Miscellaneous personal expenses and room and board for LESS than Half-Time students Improvements on place of residence Travel expenses related to job or residency interviews

19 Beyond Basic COA Changes to a Student Budget Adjustments should be guided by enrollment or program of study changes Students who have unusual or extraordinary living expenses above what was initially calculated as COA are eligible to file for an increase in their budget Budget appeals should be treated as special situations in all cases

20 Beyond Basic COA Budget Appeal Process Have a formalized process/procedure for student’s to document and explain reasons for budget increase requests Receipts Payments made or pending Estimates Have a form in your FAO that can be used to standardize the information necessary for a budget increase request

21 Resources U.S. Dept. of Labor; Bureau of Labor Statistics FSA Coach University of Michigan Document Center NASFAA Encyclopedia


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