Process for Cost of Living Increase

The Financial Aid Office provides a standard cost of living (often referred to as the "budget") amount per student as part of the annual awarding criteria. Based on Department of Education (ED) guidelines, the amount per month for each student is $2,918. This monthly expense is multiplied by either 9 or 12 months, depending on whether the student's program contains a mandated Summer term or not. Students need to be aware that the living expense component of the Cost of Attendance budget “considers only the student’s costs, not the cost of providing for an entire family”. (Handbook for Financial Aid Officers, American Association of Medical Colleges).

With the ever increasing cost of attending higher education, especially health related programs, student educational debt is increasing substantially each year.  We urge students to make wise financial decisions concerning lifestyle choices, opting for necessities rather than luxuries. The majority of student loan volume for HSC students accrues interest while the student is attending the University. Depending on the amount of time the student takes to repay student loans, loan amounts borrowed can easily double by the time the total loan is repaid.

Federal guidelines from the Department of Education state that it is not the intention of federal student aid to cover the cost of raising a family while in school.  Students are expected to have a plan on how expenses for other family members will be covered while the student is attending OUHSC. We realize that there can be reasonable necessities that a student incurs beyond the amount covered in the standard cost of living budget. Therefore, students may contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to ask about potential budget increases.

Examples of Allowable Increases:

  • Unreimbursed medical expenses
  • Auto repair costs other than routine maintenance
  • Travel for education related interviews (4th year Medical, Dental, Pharmacy)
  • Home repairs – necessities only such as plumbing, a/c, furnace repairs.  This does not include any cosmetic repairs such as paint supplies, remodeling, etc.
  • Other costs as determined by the Office of Student Financial Aid that are directly related to the student’s education

Examples of Non-Allowable Increases:

  • Credit card payments
  • Moving expenses and rental deposits
  • Expenses incurred outside of the current academic year
  • Expenses incurred by another person in the household
  • Child support and other child care expenses other than day care for attending school
  • Life insurance/disability insurance
  • Legal fees, traffic tickets, fines, etc.
  • Veterinary expenses
  • Car Payments
  • Luxury items such as premium cable channels, restaurant expenses, vacations, airline tickets for non-educational related events, etc.

Note: The cost of purchasing a computer and software is automatically included in every student’s first-year budget.  No additional funds can be allowed for that, unless new software is mandated by the academic program.  Books and supplies are included in each year’s budget, as recommended by the student’s college.  To see estimates for a program's total expenses, please click here.

Plan Ahead
Students need to consider their ability to pay for expenses before incurred. The Office of Student Financial Aid cannot be responsible for assisting with the payment of items the student purchases at will. If the student cannot afford to pay for items, other than those listed above as allowable, the student should contact our office to determine if additional financial aid is possible for the particular expense.

For all cost of living increases, student needs to provide the Financial Aid Office, in writing, the specific amount being requested. Requests are not automatically approved. The documented costs provided by the student must exceed the amounts already covered in the standard financial aid budget. The financial aid counselor must determine if the documentation provided and the need for the request complies with federal regulations.