Section 1 - Academic Costs

These are expenses directly related to the programs and courses you choose. The numbers may change depending on how many credit hours you attempt each semester, your major and your choices for textbooks and supplies.

Annual tuition rate*____________________________________
Tuition surcharges by major*____________________________________
Course fees for specific majors*____________________________________
Upper division course fees*____________________________________
Specific course fees*____________________________________
Anticipated textbook supply costs*____________________________________
* will be prefilled for you.

Section 2 - University Fees

In addition to the direct expense of faculty and instructional facilities, colleges and universities collect fees to cover the cost for student services and activities necessary for running an educational institution. Some of these fees may be voluntary, but many are mandatory. Each university has a unique fee structure. Ask an admission counselor or financial aid officer to clarify any institution-specific fees you don’t understand.

General university or comprehensive fee*____________________________________
Health center fee*____________________________________
Requirement for student health insurance*____________________________________
Library fee*____________________________________
Athletic fee*____________________________________
Student activity fee*____________________________________
Parking permit*____________________________________
Recreational facility fee*____________________________________
* will be prefilled for you.

One-time fees

Housing deposit*____________________________________
Athletic events*____________________________________
* will be prefilled for you.

Section 3 - Technology Costs

In addition to your own computing power, you may be asked to support the technology infrastructure at your college through a technology access fee. The cost and level of sophistication of your computer system will depend on your major, if you take online courses and your personal preferences.

Purchase or lease a computer*____________________________________
Software purchase*____________________________________
Internet access fee*____________________________________
Computer lab/printing lab*____________________________________
* will be prefilled for you.

Section 4 - On-campus Room and Board

Many universities have a housing requirement for full-time undergraduate students. At Northern, freshmen and sophomores are required to live in residence halls (a few exceptions apply – see Housing). Apartments are often available for upperclassmen and students who are exempt from the housing requirement. Check with the universities you are comparing to learn of their housing requirements.

Housing rate*____________________________________
Meal plan rate **____________________________________
Housing deposit*____________________________________
Phone, cable TV and Internet access fee*____________________________________
Estimated cost of laundry*____________________________________
* will be prefilled for you.

* constant meal plan. See other options at

Before moving on, one additional note about living expenses. The chart above only focuses on on-campus room and board costs because at my colleges and universities, some students are required to live on campus. If you will be living off campus at any of your institutions of interest, while you need not build them into your out-of-pocket costs comparison, it is important for you to consider what it will cost you for housing, utilities and food. Cities vary in their cost of living rates. Please do some comparison exploration as you continue in your process to choose the right school for you. You will want to consider rent, security deposits, utilities, furnishing (if necessary), groceries and laundry as some examples of off-campus living costs. You can use the on-campus living expenses portion to input your off-campus living costs, if it will help you understand your overall out-of-pocket costs.

Another aspect of on-campus living versus off-campus living costs may include transportation to and from your place of residence and the campus. Some other miscellaneous expenses to budget for are tickets to campus and community events and other entertainment activities.

Section 5 - Financial Aid - Grants and Scholarships

Now, let's look at the sources of financial assistance available to cover some of the costs of attending a university.

The process for applying for financial aid is multi-faceted and each school handles the process a little differently. Because of that, we'll have to approach some of the financial assistance discussion from a broad perspective. Along with this tool, Northern Michigan University also has an online step-by-step tutorial of its financial aid entire process. To use this tool, go to the NMU Financial Aid Pathfinder.

Regardless of the different institutional approaches, all schools will suggest that students should start the financial aid process by filing out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form which is required for most federal and some state and institutional aid sources. to learn more about the FAFSA, go to

Once you have received your financial aid award letter from each college you are considering, enter the scholarship and grant awards below. Grants and scholarships are money for college you never have to pay back. Self-help such as work-study and loans will be entered on the next page.

If you are in the very preliminary stages of choosing a college or university, you may not know what level of financial aid you might receive. Most institutions publicize their "average financial aid award" on their common data set Web page (do a search for "common data set"). For estimation purposes, you may want to use this number in your comparison. Use NMU's cost calculator to determine your potential financial aid eligibility.

Let's begin inputting financial assistance information.

Estimated financial aid grant award__________________________________________
Merit scholarships not included in financial aid award__________________________________________
Scholarships not included in financial aid award__________________________________________
Veterans Benefits not included in financial aid award__________________________________________
Other grants and aid not included above__________________________________________
* will be prefilled for you.

Section 6 - Financial Aid - Self Help and Student Loans

Most students pay for part of their education by working or through student loans. Student loans must be paid back over a period of time following graduation or the point when you discontinue attending the institution. There are two types of student loans, federally guaranteed loans and private lending. Be sure you and your parents completely understand all the terms of any loan you sign. Contact the financial aid office for help in learning about the different types of student loans.

Estimated federally guaranteed student loan award__________________________________________
Work Study student employment award__________________________________________
Alternative loans__________________________________________
Student employment on campus or off campus__________________________________________
College savings__________________________________________
* will be prefilled for you.