Cost of Living

Budget Help for New GBCB Students

Here's a basic budget for you to use as a guideline. This will help you understand what is entailed in living in Blacksburg and going to school here. I am going to budget on the low end because that's always better than budgeting high and coming up short on money at the end of every month. So here we go.

OK, assume your assistantship is $25,000. It is taxable. Let's go with a 20% tax rate for our purpose here. (It will be a bit less than that.)

$25,000 x .20 = $5,000. Thus, $25,000 - $5,000 = $20,000. This is what your take-home pay will be over 12 months. GBCB students get paid year round.

Now that you have $20,000 let's divide it by 12 months = $1,666.66

Now divide that by two because you get two paychecks a month = $833.33 

Now, we have to subtract comprehensive fees. These fees are what every student has to pay, for both fall and spring semesters. Summers do not count, no fees are assessed over the summer. Comprehensive fees run about $900 for Virginia residents, and about $1,200 for everyone else (US students who are not Va residents and all international students). There is a payroll deduction program that subtracts these comprehensive fees from each of your 9 paychecks over the course of the semester. Almost all graduate students use this because who has that kind of money in a lump sum to spend??

Thus, $1,200/9 = $133.33  Subtract $133 from $833 = $700.

So, your paycheck of $833 just got reduced to $700 every two weeks. This is still a great living in Blacksburg! I know families of four who live off this amount each month. If you find that you are always short of money that means you are living far too high and need to cut back.

Your first paycheck should cover your rent and all your utilities (or almost all of them). The second paycheck is for food, travel, clothes, fun, savings, etc. Some of you will have to buy a new cell phone. I suggest you talk with friends here in Blacksburg for guidance on which phone and plan to choose.

That about covers it. If you have any questions, come see me or email me!  ~Dennie





Student Income

Each graduate student admitted to the GBCB program at Virginia Tech receives an assistantship with monthly pay which totals between $22,000 and $30,000 per year depending on the fellowship or assistantship they receive.


Annual Expenses

School and living costs total about $17,800 per year:

  • Tuition: Paid
  • Health Insurance: Paid
  • Fees: About $800 per year. See University Fees, bottom of page
  • Books and supplies: $400
  • Room and board: $10,800 (see below for details)
  • State and Federal taxes on stipend: ~~15%
  • Gym/Fitness Membership: Paid
  • Miscellaneous Personal Expenses: $4,200 (without a car)


Monthly Expenses

Here is a break down of typical apartment and food costs (room and board) in Blacksburg for one month:

One bedroom apartment: $400-800 per month. See the Virginia Tech Off-Campus Housing page for specific listings  by price, area and features, floor plans, and pictures. (You can register for the site as a guest.)  Many apartments will approve pets. Many apartment complexes in Blacksburg offer special deals to get you into the unit- search in Google for local apartment managers or use Craigslist (New River Valley Apts).

  • Shared 2 or 3 bedroom apartments will be less expensive.
  • Utilities, internet hookup, cable, phone: $150; sometimes utilities, internet, and/or cable included in rent
  • Food and beverages: $300
  • City Transit System, Blacksburg Transit: free. Use the map on the website to plot the best places to live and ride.
  • Car expenses, insurance, gas: $150. Car payment?
  • Miscellaneous: $200


Things to Know about Blacksburg

News on VT campus.
More about the Blacksburg location

Blacksburg's  Community
Blacksburg's Arts and Culture
Good Places to Hike, Cycle, and Mountain Bike.

Yes - I am presently accepting student applications
No - I am not presently accepting student applications
Maybe - I would consider accepting an application from the right student