Carleton-funded fellowship applications require you to create a budget for your proposal. When we review your proposal, we will be looking at the budget to be sure that what you request is reasonable. ‘Reasonable,’ here, means that the budget seems appropriate for the project. If it doesn’t, that can affect whether your proposal is funded (and, if it’s funded, whether you receive the amount you have requested).
By carefully and thoughtfully planning your expenses, you convey to the committee that you are taking your project and the fellowship application seriously. Providing a budget that is much too high or too low for your proposed destination and timeframe will raise questions about whether you are prepared and qualified to engage in your proposed project.
Taking the time to plan your estimated expenditures also helps you minimize the risk of spending your funds too quickly, which would leave you in an unfortunate situation for the final days/weeks. Please note that if you must leave your project early, you might be required to return funds proportionate to the amount of time left in your proposed timeframe. Planning your spending carefully ensures that, should this situation arise, you will be well-prepared to respond to such a request.
Preparing an appropriate and effective budget is a skill that you will be able to carry forward to other aspects of your life, especially in your years beyond Carleton. We hope that you will find the process to be a valuable exercise.
Some tips and suggestions:
- To estimate air travel costs, search the Web for airfares and strike a likely average. Take into account factors that might affect ticket prices, such as seasonal or holiday rates. Include costs for travel to and from airports. Some resources are kayak.com, expedia.com, or the websites for specific airlines.
- To estimate daily ground transportation and housing expenses, the internet is your friend and you should take advantage of the fact that the world is google-able. You can use specific sites like Airbnb.com or wimdu.com to get a general sense of apartment or room rental costs, but you might also google “youth hostel” and your destination name to find out if there are cheaper options (some hostels have private rooms, in addition to shared rooms). Many public transit systems have websites that you can consult to determine daily transportation costs, and where you can also find information about how to save money (for example, by using a multi-day pass or multi-trip ticket). Students who have recently visited your proposed location can also be great sources of information. Finally, if you have a contact where you hope to be, you can ask that person for information on local costs.
- To estimate food costs, take a realistic measure of the amount of food (including snacks and beverages) you consume on a weekly basis. Try to estimate how much that would cost if purchased in your proposed location. Ideally, you will be able to prepare your own food or eat very cheaply away from your lodging – don’t think of restaurants as your source for meals. As above, consult others who have been to or live in your proposed destination to give you an idea about basic costs. A potential web resource is expatistan.com, which compares basic cost-of-living categories between your location and where you want to go.
- For estimates of ‘other’ costs, be practical about your needs over an extended time, factoring in items required in special circumstances.
- Currency exchange rates can be found at xe.com .
- Check your health insurance coverage. Many plans do not cover you during international travel. See the Off-Campus Studies Insurance page for information about various short-term insurance options.
Other important things to keep in mind:
- Prepare a budget for a modest lifestyle—neither lavish nor unsafe.
- While fellowships will cover some supplies required by your project, awards will not cover the purchase of equipment (e.g., cameras and accessories, laptops) that will become the student’s personal property.
- Plan ahead for immunizations you might need. The Center for Disease Control maintains information at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list/.
- The fellowships application includes the option to budget for up to $1000 in lost summer wages. This category is for summer wages only.
- You may receive funding from only one Carleton-funded fellowship for a given project.
Budget categories for Carleton-funded fellowships:
- Transportation to and from site
- Transportation at site
- Lodging (cost per week x number of weeks)
- Food (cost per week x number of weeks)
- Passport, ID fees
- Other fees (program, admission, etc.)
- Lost summer wages (you may claim up to $1,000)
- Other expenses (note: Carleton will not purchase equipment)