Creating a Budget

Fillable PDF Budget Template (64.89 KB)

Excel Version Budget Template (11.05 KB)

This document is designed to make budgeting easier for students and review committees by allowing them to use common terms and definitions.  In most cases of budget-building, not every section or category will be used. Students should check with their specific program to see which budget items to include or exclude. When in doubt, always check with the specific program on any questions you have.

A budget is a plan for expenses (costs) and funding (where money will come from to cover the costs), and those two totals should match. A budget is an important part of the planning process.

  • A budget helps your program review committee get a clear sense of what you plan to do. It is not just a series of numbers; you need to justify the expenses.
  • Make your cost estimates credible and realistic. An inflated budget will weaken your proposal, but under-reporting expenses will create problems later.
  • Once your budget gets approved, always seek the funder’s permission if you need or want to use grant monies differently than you proposed.

 

A. Research-Related Expense Term Explanations

  1. Consumable Materials are items that will be used up in the research process and can’t be re-used later, such as reagents.
  2. Non-Consumable Materials are items that can be used again at a later time after your project is complete, such as testing materials.
  3. Equipment/Durable Goods are for items of lasting value.  It is not common for these items to be covered for student grants.  If they are allowable, watch for amount restrictions, such as no more than $100.
  4. Research Subject Compensation is for when you are paying people to participate in your study.  Use the notes to explain specifics, such as cost per participant multiplied by the number of participants you plan on using.
  5. Fees can include charges for a service needed or for a registration cost, including from a partner or governmental institution. Check with your grant program to make sure they cover these types of expenses.
  6. Transcription Services can cover the cost of hiring a person/service to transcribe interviews or focus group sessions. Most funders will want to see that you are doing a significant portion of the transcription work yourself.
  7. Tuition/Mandatory Fees are for specific program costs. Many grants do not cover these expenses, so make sure you check first.
  8. Instructional Materials are for specific program costs. Many grants do not cover these expenses, so make sure you check first.
  9. Living Expenses are sometimes covered by fixed-amount stipend grants. For example, if you are applying for a Summer URG and you will not have international travel-related expenses, enter the Summer URG amount here.

B. Travel-Related Expense Term Explanations

  1. Airfare (round trip) costs should be based upon a search for the dates you plan to travel. It is not a good idea to list the lowest possible price, since the cost will probably go up while the application is under review. Enter a realistic mid-range price for your airfare.
  2. Housing can either be for a hotel/hostel or for rent for a longer term project. If you are applying for a grant that will give you a fixed stipend for your living expenses, you do not need to fill in this field.
  3. Food costs should cover all of your eating during your trip. You want to determine a realistic amount per day based on the location, and then multiply by the number of days. Look up per diem rates for US travel or for international travel. If you are applying for a grant that will give you a fixed stipend for your living expenses, you do not need to fill in this field.
  4. Local Travel Expenses are for things like bus fare or taxis that you may need once you are in your main location.  Determine a per-day cost, and then multiply it by the number of days. If you are applying for a grant that will give you a fixed stipend for your living expenses, you do not need to fill in this field.

C. International-Related Expense Term Explanations

  1. Entry Visa or Visas costs will vary by country. Find the actual cost and learn the process for obtaining the visa(s). Here is a currency converter tool to help you figure the cost in U.S. dollars.
  2. Required Vaccines for each country can be found on the Centers for Disease Control web site. Check with your health care provider for prices.
  3. Recommended Vaccines for each country can be found on the Centers for Disease Control web site. Check with your health care provider for prices.
  4. Travel Health Insurance through HTH is required for students traveling with University funding, with limited exceptions. Information about costs and coverage is available through the Office of Risk Management.
  5. Passport costs will be entered if you do not currently have a valid passport. More information can be found here: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/apply.html

D. Potential Funding Explanation

List the different programs/grants to which you are applying for funding. Indicate whether the funding is for different purposes (such as living expenses or to help cover an expensive airline ticket) or for the same purpose (such as two grants that you would choose between if offered both). Family contributions or money you've saved from a part-time job can be listed here as well.

If you will be participating in a credit-bearing academic program and plan to apply for student loans, you may also list those funds as a resource. Contact the Financial Aid Office for eligibility and additional information.