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 is based on the actual cost of tuition, plus an allowance for other fees that students are typically charged, a standard amount for housing and a meal plan, and allowances for the typical costs of books and supplies, personal expenses, and transportation to and from campus. Tuition, fees, housing and food are all charged quarterly on the university bill.

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, and typically are not charged on 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.

Most students do not 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
2024-2025 Academic Year
Housing and Food
Student Fees Allowance
Books and Supplies Allowance
Personal Expenses Allowance

New students (freshmen and transfers) will also need to pay the New Student Orientation Fee ($525) and the Document Fee ($250). These one-time fees will be included in the budgets of new students. See the University 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 international 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 for the cost for the Cardinal Care Plan. Enrolled students may email us at to let us know if you need this assistance. All students with zero expected parent contribution who do not have adequate health insurance coverage will be eligible for scholarship funds to cover the cost of Cardinal Care health insurance. Vaden Health Center provides a comparison worksheet to help you make good choices about health insurance coverage.

Other Expenses

Students who face additional expenses while enrolled that are required for them to make academic progress, for example the cost of a computer or significant out-of-pocket medical expenses, may request to have those expenses included in their student budget. We have created a Computer Expense Request and a Medical/Dental Expense Request to help students organize their requests for these common expenses

Updated on February 29, 2024 10:32 AM