One of the crucial steps in preparing to study at Carleton University is to develop a financial aid plan. A financial aid plan will show you whether or not your sources of funding are enough to cover all your costs.

To help you with this process, we’ve launched an online budget calculator. A budget, after all, is simply a plan for spending your money. The benefit of using our calculator is that it’s built for use by post-secondary students, who typically have a mixture of up-front and monthly resources and expenses.

It’s also extremely easy to use! Fill in your information and let the calculator determine your totals. When you’re finished, you can print your budget for future reference.

How it Works

The calculator contains four sections (tabs) for you to complete:

  1. Education Expenses (e.g. Tuition, books, and equipment)
  2. Resources (e.g. OSAP, RESPs, and family assistance)
  3. Monthly Expenses (e.g. rent, groceries and cell phone)
  4. Monthly Income (e.g. part-time employment)

screenshot of Awards Office budget calculator

As you fill in each section, the calculator will display your totals. Your Monthly Expenses and Monthly Income will be multiplied by your selected budget term (you have the option of selecting 4, 8, or 12 months). This is to provide you with your Net Study Period Income, which is used in calculating your Overall Shortfall/Surplus. 

Overall/Shortfall Surplus

Your goal in using this calculator should be to see an Overall Shortfall/Surplus of $0 or greater. This will mean you have enough income to cover your expenses.

Be sure to play around and see how slight changes in values can affect your budget. What happens if you spend $50 on entertainment each month? What if you had $1,000 in personal savings?

Let us know what you think

If you have feedback, positive or negative, we want to know! Send us an email at or sound off in the comments below.

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