AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine

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Financial Literacy

AOMA is committed to offering an affordable education that is accessible to students from a variety of backgrounds. In an effort to reduce student indebtedness, AOMA encourages students to explore a variety of sources for funding their education. In situations where other funding sources do not exist and students choose to fund their AOMA education through student loans, AOMA encourages students to budget carefully. Careful financial management before, during, and after enrollment can reduce overall debt and create a solid financial platform from which to begin an acupuncture practice after graduation.

Budgeting

The Financial Services Administrator is available to help students develop, and follow, a personal budget. Careful budgeting can help minimize the amount a student needs to borrow.

Identify Needs versus Wants

Needs are basic items that a human needs to survive such as food, shelter, clothing and transportation. Additional needs to sustain or improving quality of life is health costs such as medicine and insurance. Wants are things that we do not need to survive but wish we can have if we could have it. Ask yourself if you can live without something or what would happen if you did not have it? Would you still survive without something?

Minimize Expenses

Write down a list of all your monthly spending - everything to the last dot including cash donations. This step may require you to start keeping all your spending receipts for a whole month. Then, separate the receipts by needs and another stack by wants. The best way to categorize these is to determine what is needed to survive. Remember, what are not needed to survive will be your wants receipts. The next step is to write them down on a budget sheet. Total the numbers. Any debt needs to be paid and should be on your budget list until it is paid-off. Try to eliminate debt as soon as possible with the smallest balance to the largest being last. Have an emergency financial plan.

Assess where you can save money by eliminating what you want and do not need to have. Open a savings account if you do not have one. A savings account is handy for emergencies or special annual expenses. If you do not have an emergency fund in case there is an interruption of income for any reason, plan on saving money for monthly needs expenses. Revise your budget accordingly. Refer to a basic sample budget below.

Incoming $   Outgoing $  
Source $               Source $              
Individual Income   Housing (utilities, rent, insurance)  
Savings  

Transportation (fuel, maintenance,
insurance, repairs)

 
Other Assistance   Food  
   

Healthcare
Childcare

 
Scholarships   Debt or other  
Federal Work Study   Tuition & Fees  
Loans   Books & Supplies  
    Other fees  
    Entertainment  

An assessment of the new revised budget is recommended to determine ongoing school and future expenses such as repayment of student loans. As you borrow more, your repayment amount will increase when you start repayment. It is best to start early and keep up with your budgets regularly.

Budgeting and Borrowing Overview

Source: 2012 US Dept. of Education Federal Student Aid Conference

Resources

http://www.mymoney.gov/

http://studentaid.ed.gov/

http://www.aie.org/managing-your-money/financial-literacy-tools/step-down-spending-method-exercise.pdf

http://www.finaid.org/