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International Students and Scholars

Sample Budget

Below is a sample letter used successfully by a Lewis & Clark student who applied for and received permission to work off campus due to economic hardship. The student argued that she suffered from a severe and unexpected change in her financial situation. She included proof of her situation. In this case, the student proved that her home government confiscated property from her father without compensation and that there was a severe devaluation in her home currency.

Importantly, the student provided comparative budget figures for the past year and for the coming year, showing how her income and expenses would change.

The letter is provided only as an example. If you decide to apply for permission to work off campus due to economic necessity, you will have to write a letter which explains and proves your situation.

To DHS Official:

I would like to apply for for permission to work off campus on the basis of severe financial needs. My father has paid my college expenses so far. However, due to several unforeseen reasons, his net income has decreased considerably this year. The reasons are as follows:

  • Unexpected confiscation of property by the Government of _____. (See Attachment #1).
  • Devaluation of currency (2007: US$1.00 = HL$325; 2008: US$1.00 = HL$500). (See Attachment #2).

The main reason for my financial hardship is the surprising confiscation of my father’s land by the government of Blank. Please see Attachment #1 as proof of this occurrence. My father used to earn monthly income from the rent on this land. The average per annum was US$6,000. This loss of income will reduce the amount of support my father can give me by approximately US$6,000.

In addition, the currency of my country was devalued considerably during the past year. When I began school in 2007, my family paid $HL 325 (my country’s currency) for each U.S. dollar. Because of the unexpected and severe devaluation, my family now pays HL$500 for each U.S. dollar. That is a devaluation of more than 50% of the $HL’s value and it resulted in a great increase in the price of school my family must pay.

As evidence of the currency devaluation, please see the attached proof showing the rates from in September of 2007 and today’s rates. (Attachment #2).


Breakdown of my Income and Expenses for 2007-08 academic year

  Income   Expenses
Financial Aid $18,000 Tuition $33,726
Family Funds $25,000 Room & Board $ 8,820
Work on campus $ 1,700 Insurance $1,280
Private loan $ 2,456 Books $1,050
    Living expenses $ 990
    Miscellaneous $ 1,290
Total $47,156   $47,156

Breakdown of my Income and Expenses for 2008-09 academic year

  Income   Expenses
Financial Aid $18,000 Tuition $35,000
Family Funds $18,000 Room & Board $ 8,950
Work on campus $ 1,700 Insurance $1,350
Private loan $2,456 Books $1,050
    Living expenses $1000
    Miscellaneous $1000
Total $40,156   $48,350

This breakdown shows that my net income has decreased from $47,156 per year to $40,156. The school cost has gone up from $47,156 to $48,350. This means that I will be short of $8,194 for the 2008-09 school year. Previously, I was able to pay part of my living expenses by working the maximum allowed 20 hours per week on campus, but that is certainly not enough to cover the costs that I have to bear this year. I am a junior at Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon at present and have one more year to graduate. Without being able to work off campus, it will not be possible for me to gather enough money to pay for school. It is for this desperate reason that I am applying for an off-campus work permit.


Signed: ____________________________ Date: ______________________