An Exercise on Creating a Student Expenditure Basket

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The creation of a student expenditure basket as a student-led project engages students in interactive learning and provides an estimate of the cost of living for college students. This exercise is easily adaptable for uses within or outside the classroom setting and can be applied across all class sizes. The results from student surveys show that educational expenditures amount to 66.5 percent of the college student’s basket compared to 3 percent of the typical consumer’s basket, and housing expenditures represent not more than 12 percent of the student’s basket, but makes up 40 percent of the typical consumer’s basket. Scholarships and grants reduce the average student’s educational expenditures to 52 percent. A spreadsheet that can be adopted by other instructors to replicate this exercise is presented. This exercise develops students’ higher-order thinking skills, and provides faculty with a non-lecture teaching technique.


by Chandini Sankaran, Thomas Mulroney, Jr. and Dana Corcoran

Download | Spreadsheet Attachment