The Student Budget

The standard student budget applies to the typical Stanford undergraduate student:

  • unmarried
  • financially dependent on parents
  • living in a residence hall or off-campus
  • attending full-time for Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters

The budget includes the actual cost of tuition and certain fees, a standard amount for room and board, and allowances for the typical costs of books and supplies, personal expenses, and transportation to and from campus.  

Books, supplies, personal expenses and transportation costs are estimates of your actual expenses and included for the purpose of determining the full cost of attendance and eligibility for aid. They are not part of the university bill. The amounts are based on a survey of current students and adjusted for inflation. If your actual expenses are significantly higher than the allowances, you can submit documentation of your costs to the Financial Aid Office; we may be able to adjust your budget and increase your financial aid eligibility.

Few students actually pay this full cost! Prospective students and parents can use our Net Price Calculator to obtain estimates of eligibility for need-based financial aid from Stanford.

Student Budget
Budget Item
2015–2016 Academic Year
Room and Board
Campus Health Service Fee
Books and Supplies
Personal Expenses

New students (freshmen and transfers) will also need to pay the New Student Orientation Fee ($438) and the Document Fee ($250). These one-time fees will be included in the budgets of new students. See the Fees section of the Stanford Bulletin for information about these fees.

Health Insurance

Stanford University requires that all registered students carry adequate health insurance and offers Cardinal Care health insurance which can be used to meet this requirement.  Most undergraduates are covered under their parents’ health insurance plans and often waive Cardinal Care coverage.  Our calculation of the expected parent contribution considers this expense.  We automatically assume that independent students will choose Cardinal Care coverage and include that cost in their student budget.  For all others, the Financial Aid Office may provide additional assistance to those who do not have appropriate health insurance and demonstrate substantial financial need in order to cover the cost for the Cardinal Care Plan. Enrolled students may email us at to let us know if you need this assistance.

Tuition - Total amount of full-time tuition charges for one academic year, to be divided across Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters.
Room and Board - Standard allowance for all aid applicants. Your actual room and board costs may be different. The allowance amount is standard and will not be adjusted, even if you live off-campus or choose room and board plans with higher costs. Most on-campus room and board charges appear on the university bill; a few residences bill students directly.
Books and Supplies - Standard allowance. If your
actual total yearly costs are significantly higher, you can submit a Request for Revision form with documentation of your actual costs. Books and supplies are not included on the university bill; students purchase books and supplies directly from the Stanford Bookstore and/or other stores.
Personal Expenses - Standard allowance based on typical costs incurred for student fees, clothing, toiletries, dorm activities and incidentals. The allowance amount can serve as a planning tool to help students determine how much money to have available for expenses during the year. University-billed fees that are covered by the personal expenses allowance may include student activities fees, house dues, telecom fees and Post Office box fees.
Campus Health Services Fee - Mandatory fee covering basic services provided by Vaden Health Center. The fee is included on the university bill and is divided evenly across Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters. Exemptions are available only for students studying away from the main Stanford campus.
Travel - Standard allowance based on the estimated cost of round-trip travel between your home state and the Stanford campus twice per academic year for U.S. residents and once per year for international students. If your actual costs are significantly higher, you can submit a Request for Revision form with documentation of your actual costs. Students pay for their own transportation costs directly; there is no transportation charge on the university bill.
Updated on February 27, 2015 5:01 PM