Last week we addressed the concerns many students have about whether they’re ready for DC. This week we’ll dig into a big one for FGLI students: what is this going to cost?! I and many in my cohort were happy to discover that the PIW experience is very FGLI-friendly due to the coverage of expenses by financial aid. Depending on your aid award, you will receive a refund for food, housing (the D.C. housing is cheaper), and other fees that aren’t found in the PIW semester. Budget around this refund, especially if you have an unpaid internship (which is no longer as much as a worry due to the stipend*)! If you don’t, you will notice that D.C. can get expensive quickly and you do not want to be put in a financial situation while taking classes and working an internship.
As a reminder, financial aid varies for everyone to be sure to check in with your financial aid counselor to see how your semester in D.C. would look in terms of aid. For the most part, the semester in D.C. is cheaper than on campus, so you should have nothing to worry about, but in order to make sure all the bases are covered please refer to SRFS website or pop in for their new virtual visits on Tuesdays and Thursdays!
For budgeting, you can use a variety of apps or spreadsheets to track your expenses. Personally, I use Mint which automatically connects to your bank accounts and auto-categorize transactions into your budget categories (it also allows you to look at multiple accounts at once!). Bottom line, if you want to intern in Washington but are worried about affordability, don’t worry! One way or another, you will at a minimum break even.
*As of 2020, students with a financial aid package that includes a work-study award whose internship is unpaid can apply for a stipend of up to the award amount. More details are available here.