dollars and dreams

What is the Monthly Expenses for Students in USA?

Raghuram Sukumar Student Stories 17 Comments

First of all, thank you very much for such a useful blog ! All your posts are really helpful for MS aspirants like us … I have applied for fall 13 , results awaited. I just want to know apprx. what is the monthly expenditure for a student.

I know it may vary for different universities but, still, I would like to know in general how much it is.

Apart from that, I also wish to know how much of the monthly expenditure can be earned through on campus job? And how do students manage if their monthly expenditure is greater than their earning ?
And one more small doubt, when a student succeeds in getting on campus job, will he/she be considered for TA/RA/GA ? Or usually only one of these two is allowed? are both the things manageable along with the studies ?

I know I have asked so many questions….. but answers to them will really help me in preparing my prioritized list of universities as finances is a crucial factor in my case !
Please clarify .

Name > Aditi Kamatkar

Expenses in USA

Aditi – Good set of questions. Every student will have the exact same set of question you have.

  • Monthly living expnese
  • Part Time Jobs
  • Income form RA/TA
  • Full Time Income
  • Savings
  • My first intern story and how much salary I got.

You will see in real figures about your monthly expenses, how much you can earn while working part time, RA, TA with real examples at Dollars and Dreams Course.




  1. I have paid and registered fot the dollars and dreams , but I am not being able to login to the premium account, it shows that my user id and password are wrong!

  2. And one more thing….in some universities doing a part-time job is illegal so do check before u pick up one. Check with the international advisor first. And even if u dont get GA at first, dont worry, almost everyone gets a GA by 2nd semester, so u need to support urself for 1st semester only..funding is really low now, so dont lose heart if u dont get a GA straightaway.Almost everyone I know here is getting atleast a 60% funding since 2nd sem, so dont worry. If u are offered full RA, ur tuition fees are exempted too. For RA, its better to contact profs first before applying. The university asked me to show 7000$ in my bank account for living expenses, but I havent touched that yet. Just get in once, funding is easy after that 🙂

  3. Hey!
    I am in memphis. Its cheap here. We live in an apartment whose monthly rent is 480$. 3 girls, so my share is 175$. MLGW in winter comes max 200$. Again divide by 3. Internet monthly is 47$ ( /3). If u get a smartphone on contract, you pay about 80$ a month. A basic phone on contract costs you about 30-40$. Prepaid is about 30-40$, so up to you which u want (I prefer prepaid, u could try out go-phones too). I bought a whole bed set (mattress + bed frame + bed box, one-time investment) from season sale at 190$. Groceries for a month is about 100-200$ depending on what you eat of course. These are my regular expenditure. Monthly I get 1000$ from RA, its enough for me. If u maintain a car, add maintenance charges. I dont, I live pretty close to campus. Also, get spices from india, its available, but comparatively expensive here in Indian store. Try to find an RA or TA job, it helps in ur studies. People work in other campus jobs but I dont think its worth it because you waste valuable study-time for extra money and hence jeopardizing ur chances at a good career and earning more money in the long run. but still, campus jobs can pay anything between 8-20$ an hour. Hope this helps. Good luck

  4. This how it works in Blacksburg, Virginia. I study at Virginia Tech.

    To begin with, the standard of living is comparatively low. It’s a college town.

    Monthly Living Expense: Rent: Anywhere between: 200$ (Room shared with another person/living room/not a good apartment/not well connected) to 400$ (Single Master Bedroom/Awesome apartment/well connected). On an average consider 275$ for a single decent room in a decent place.
    Part Time Jobs: University town, has approx. 20,000 – 30,000 students living on-campus. Has 6 – 8 dining halls. Has more than 8 colleges/schools (I mean school of engineering, school of economics etc. So ample jobs available. Can anywhere between 8$ to 15$ an hour.
    Income form RA/TA: Depends on the department, the type of RA/TA, university policies, state and federal taxes etc. Too many parameters come into play so can’t give you a concrete answer. I could give you my case, but then there are so many factors that come into play that it will take helluva lot time to give you break-up. But make sure you get in-touch with people from the department of the university you are interested in and inquire about how things work there. I am on a partial RA. I will make approx. 900+$ a month during spring sem, which will increase during summer because of some tax savings and then will decrease drastically and go to 550$ a month because of some other factors coming into play. COMPLICATED.
    Full Time Income: ???
    Savings: 265 $ Rent + 120 $ Food + 100 Utilities and other bills + Insurance + Entertainment etc. Approx. 200 to 300 $. As of now, it keeps changing according to seasons.
    My first intern story and how much salary I got: My RA is my first intern. How I got it is a very looooooong story. The numbers I have given above.

    1. Why is it always like this –

      – Very informative blog when contents are free
      – Its just another marketing tool when you have to pay

      This is what happens when you are used to getting all the things for free or priated copies.

      1. OMG i was just about to write about pirated SWs in India and getting used to free stuff etc…you wrote about it already!

        1. However there is a very stark reality about INDIA, which constitutes a flip side of the coin.Majority of middleclass population who pays income tax regularly are getting conned by those who are in power. they are getting nothing in return so i really dont think normal ppl doing anything wrong in purchasing pirated SWs etc. businesses are run unethically. can u tell me how many months are needed to get ISO like certification in India? 30 days is the answer if u can bribe!

  5. answer the question if you can donot just sell Dreams n Dollars everywhere, I know you wont approve this comment..but i wont you to know i was intrigued by the title that i could get some answer n insight but u showed ur budhii

    1. It’s my product and it answers the posted question. I can sell the product in any possible way in this site in any possible manner using blog post, email newsletter, banner, etc. I’m not goign to spend time answering something that I’m selling as a product.

      HSB is not providing community service. HSB is run as a company with registered legal entity.

      1. Hey HSB, i guess you should add few lines about ur blog is a professional company in info about you that is displayed under every post. there is a perception that yours is a completely free blog!

        1. There one small marketing mistake though, you should give few lines about general expenses, like Internet & cable charges, monthly gorcery exp, power exp., eat out expenses, Mobile connection exp, Contengency exp., which are NOT included in the college budget (trailer about whats in the paid package) and then give link to buy the video.(even though there is a post in archieves).

          Generally, without giving a small trailor its hard to sell a product.

          1. i know ur blog inside & out! was just talking about this particular article. not everybody knows about archieves when they come to the blog right? 🙂

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