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Budgeting Tips

Preparing a Budget

The budget is a key element of your proposal and serves as a blueprint for spending your grant/scholarship funds. All proposals must include a budget that provides a detailed breakdown of the financial support requested. An effective budget outlines the proposed experience/project in fiscal terms and helps reviewers determine how the project will be conducted. Budget details usually reveal whether a proposal has been carefully planned and may ultimately be feasible. Include information on the amount of funding you’re planning to be responsible for yourself or to obtain from other sources.

The proposed budget should be complete; that is, it should include all the costs of any travel, personnel (e.g., interpreter, driver), supplies, and activities required by the project. If major cost areas are omitted or underestimated, the project, as proposed, may not be considered feasible.

Components of the Budget

Typical budget items include:

  • Airfare (specify transit airports) or mileage expenses
  • Ground (local) transportation
  • Program fees
  • Housing cost
  • Food (number of days and the estimated per diem rate)
  • Passport/visa costs (only if required)
  • Immunizations required by the travel site and prophylaxis medications (Check with your insurance provider about what is covered before you incur the costs. Clinics also may vary greatly in the prices charged.)
  • Travel Insurance (required: this is a mandatory fixed cost; $1.31 per day billed to your U-bill)
  • Materials and supplies (e.g., educational materials produced for the site)
  • Administrative costs (e.g., institutional review board fees)
  • International phone/simcard (required: estimate cost based on your travel location)

Estimating Costs

Base your estimates on current and reliable sources of information. For example, to estimate air travel costs, search the Web for airfares and strike a likely average. Take into account factors that might impact ticket prices, such as seasonal or holiday rates. Include costs for travel to and from airports.

To estimate daily ground transportation costs, as well as food and housing expenses, some of the best sources of information are students who have recently returned from your proposed location or your site host. If you have applied to a formal program, you may be able to obtain a description of common needs and current prices from that office. Web and book travel resources such as the Lonely Planet guides for specific locations also offer useful information.

Take a realistic measure of the amount of food (including snacks and beverages) you consume on a weekly basis. For estimates of other costs, be equally realistic about your needs over an extended time, factoring in items required in special circumstance (e.g., bottled water, internet access). While scholarship/grant monies may cover supplies required by your project, most awards will not cover the purchase of equipment (e.g., cameras and accessories, camcorders, laptops, etc.) that will become the student's personal property or normal personal care items.

Do not include “miscellaneous” as a category in your budget. Likewise, souvenirs, personal sight-seeing, vacation travel, etc. should not be included in your budget.

All applicants are expected to report pending or received funding from other sources for the same or a similar project.

NOTE: Do not contact University International Programs or any other department for any travel documents. All global health programs documentation is handled through the Carver College of Medicine, including your registration and travel insurance. If in doubt, contact the Global Health Programs office.