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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 nine-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 9-Month  Budget Low 9-Month Budget
United States $17,830 $ 11,940
Boston–Cambridge–Quincy, MA–NH 18,722 12,537
New York–Northern New Jersey–Long Island, NY–NJ–PA 19,613 13,134
Philadelphia–Camden–Wilmington, PA–NJ–DE–MD 18,365 12,298
Pittsburgh, PA 17,830 11,940
North Central:
Chicago–Naperville–Joliet, IL–IN–WI 18,365 12,298
Cleveland–Elyria–Mentor, OH 17,830 11,940
Detroit–Warren–Livonia, MI 17,830 11,940
Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington, MN–WI 18,187 12,179
St. Louis, MO–IL 17,830 11,940
Atlanta–Sandy Springs–Marietta, GA 18,008 12,059
Baltimore–Towson, MD 18,722 12,537
Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington, TX 18,365 12,298
Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown, TX 18,365 12,298
Miami–Ft. Lauderdale–Miami Beach, FL 18,008 12,059
Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV 20,861 13,970
Anchorage, AK 19,435 13,015
Denver–Aurora, CO 18,365 12,298
Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana, CA 19,256 12,895
Phoenix–Mesa–Scottsdale, AZ 18,365 12,928
Portland–Vancouver–Beaverton, OR–WA 18,365 12,928
San Diego–Carlsbad–San Marcos, CA 19,791 13,253
San Francisco–Oakland–Hayward, CA 20,505 13,731
Seattle–Tacoma, WA 19,078 12,776
Honolulu, HI 19,078 12,776

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.