Prospective Students

Creating a Personal Budget

When creating a personal budget, it is important to understand how the Ohio State cost of attendance (COA) is built and how your spending choices influence the amount of financial aid you need. The Ohio State COA is comprised of two different types of expenses: direct expenses and indirect expenses.

  • Direct Expenses are those which are paid to the college, such as tuition and fees. The student does not control or influence these.
  • Indirect Expenses are those which the student incurs due to attending a specific program, such as books, supplies, and living expenses, but are not charged directly by the University.  Students have a lot of control over these expenses based on their personal lifestyles.

Living expenses are highly influenced by the lifestyle with which you feel comfortable funding.  Ask yourself some questions:  Do you want to have a roommate or live alone?  Would you rather commute or live close to campus?  Will you need to purchase the University's health insurance, or will you be covered on an outside plan? You must compare your needs and wishes with how much you are willing to finance.

If you have questions about completing a personal spending plan or determine that your expenses are greater than what Ohio State has determined in the standard Cost of Attendance, please contact Financial Aid.