Creating a Budget

As an International Athlete you are going to have to prove that you have sufficient funds to cover your living expenses. Let’s look at how to create a budget.

Making a Budget

Ask for Help: Especially if your family is paying for part or all of your college expenses, you will want to work with them when creating your budget. Make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to who will pay for what.

List all of your income. In your budget, you will want to list all of your potential categories and amounts of income. For example, for college students this usually includes: financial aid such as scholarships, grants, work study, and student loans, savings, contributions from parents, and income from a part-time job and your athlete scholarship.

List all of your expenses. Next, you will want to list all of your potential categories and amounts of expenses. If you are not sure what your expenses are, you might try tracking them for a week, a month, or more. Recording everything you spend can be a great way to determine areas to cut out.

Use this list to help you think about all the possible expenses you may have:
  • Tuition
  • Rent/housing
  • Meals (board)
  • Health insurance
  • Books/technology fees
  • Transportation
  • Communications
  • Clothing/personal items
  • Family expenses
  • Personal expenses
  • Recreation and travel
  • Taxes

Plan for emergencies. There are a variety of things that could come while you are thousands of miles away from home. Have money set aside for such things. If possible, have $2,000 set aside for such emergencies.

Make sure your budget balances. Finally, total your income and your expenses, and make sure your budget “balances.” This means that you’re not spending more than you’re making. You want to either break even or (preferably) have some money left over. If your budget doesn’t balance, you’ll need to reduce your expenses and/or figure out a way to bring in more income.

International Student Budgets

The estimates that appear on the I-20 or ISAP-66 are usually accurate, and international students are expected to have funds to cover the full amount shown. It is not possible to arrange for more financial aid once you arrive at a school. If you are a graduate student and are awarded an assistantship, be sure that you understand what it will include and what you will be expected to pay for out of your own pocket. If you will receive a scholarship or fellowship, determine ahead of time what portion is taxable and include the necessary taxes in your budget.

A Note About Financial Aid Awards

Financial aid awards are typically paid to you via check and your U.S. bank account will have to be established before you will be able to cash a check. If you are receiving a scholarship or assistantship from your U.S. university, keep in mind that these awards are usually taxed. It is particularly important for you to realize that if you do get an assistantship you will not be paid for your first month’s work until you have completed the month. Be sure you have enough money to support yourself for at least the first month until you receive your check.