Guidance for Living Expenses: Overview

The living expense budgets are developed based on data from the most recent years’ Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES), produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The CES microdata was queried to generate budgets for additional Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) with significant population sizes. Consequently, the regional tables of the living expense budget reflect 35 MSAs, compared to 22 in published regional data tables. 

Since budgets cannot be established for every area of the country, no MSA’s budget falls below the base budget. 

Note: These budgets are provided to assist financial aid officers in developing living expense budgets for their independent, off-campus students. The budgets should not be confused with the actual boarding expenses experienced by an on-campus student. These budgets are intended as broad guidelines or starting points which should be adjusted to local economies, individual situations, and Department of Education Cost of Attendance guidelines.