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2017-18 low and moderate living expense budgets

This table shows living expense costs by region and metropolitan area over a 12-month period. Both a moderate and a low budget are provided. The budgets reflect increases in the Consumer Price Index (calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) of 1.007 percent for 2015.

The budgets are developed based on data from the most recent Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES) and the Indexes of Comparative Costs, both produced by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Budget regions correspond to the metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. The CES sample changes about every 10 years, which changes the MSAs for which indexes can be developed. There were 28 MSAs for the period from 1996 to 2004, but that number dropped to 24 for 2005. Therefore, the regional tables of the living expense budget now reflect only 24 MSAs. Also, since a factor could not be established for every region of the country, no region is adjusted by a value of less than 1.0.

  Moderate 12-Month Budget Low 12-Month Budget
United States $ 23,770 $ 15,920
Boston–Cambridge–Quincy, MA–NH 24,959 16,716
New York–Northern New Jersey–Long Island, NY–NJ–PA 26,147 17,512
Philadelphia–Camden–Wilmington, PA–NJ–DE–MD 24,483 16,398
Pittsburgh, PA 23,770 15,920
North Central:
Chicago–Naperville–Joliet, IL–IN–WI 24,483 16,398
Cleveland–Elyria–Mentor, OH 23,770 15,920
Detroit–Warren–Livonia, MI 23,770 15,920
Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington, MN–WI 24,245 16,238
St. Louis, MO–IL 23,770 15,920
Atlanta–Sandy Springs–Marietta, GA 24,008 16,079
Baltimore–Towson, MD 24,959 16,716
Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington, TX 24,483 16,398
Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown, TX 24,483 16,398
Miami–Ft. Lauderdale–Miami Beach, FL 24,008 16,079
Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV 27,811 18,626
Anchorage, AK 25,909 17,353
Denver–Aurora, CO 24,483 16,398
Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana, CA 25,672 17,194
Phoenix–Mesa–Scottsdale, AZ 24,483 16,398
Portland–Vancouver–Beaverton, OR–WA 24,483 16,398
San Diego–Carlsbad–San Marcos, CA 26,385 17,671
San Francisco–Oakland–Hayward, CA 27,336 18,308
Seattle–Tacoma, WA 25,434 17,034
Honolulu, HI 25,434 17,034

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.