Budgeting for Life in Philadelphia

Philadelphia can be one of the most affordable cities on the east coast. Living expenses are the responsibility of, and will vary by, each student. Our program allows students the freedom and flexibility to create a budget that best fits their needs.

Based on a recent survey, here’s an example of a typical monthly budget for fall and spring semester:

Monthly Budget (Fall or Spring 16-Credit Program)


Average Cost

Expected Range

Rent $460 $250-$600
Utilities $90 $0-$125
Furniture Rental/Purchase $50 $0-$125
Transportation $70 $5-$200
Groceries $175 $50-$300
Dining Out $175 $50-$300
Entertainment $175 $50-$300
Miscellaneous $55 $0-$200

Total Average Monthly Expenses $1,250
Total Average for Fall or Spring* $5,000

* Please note: nearly all realtors will require first and last month’s rent and a security deposit upon signing a lease. This deposit is usually equal to one month’s rent divided by the number of roommates. The figures above do not reflect security deposit, nor do they include utility or telephone deposits, all of which are refunded at the end of the semester — provided no damage or additional charges have been incurred. 

Budget (Summer 8-Credit Program)



Early Application Fee $250 (Applications received before Dec. 31)
Application Fee $500 (Applications received after Dec. 31)
Tuition $5,000
Housing** $2,000

– Some institutions charge their own fees for processing summer program applications. Please check with your off-campus study office. 

– Please note: Students must contract to enroll in the seminar as a part of their overall summer program experience. 

**To help defray the cost of living expenses, The Philadelphia Center subsidizes housing for summer program participants. TPC typically rents an apartment dormitory on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania where participants live with other students on the program. Students may also make their own living arrangements, but TPC does not provide alternative housing support. Students who choose our housing option will pay $1,900 for housing, significantly less than the actual cost of $2,900. Costs such as food, transportation, entertainment, and other expenses are not included so students should budget accordingly. Albion College will mail a bill to each student that has opted to use summer housing sometime in April.