NOVA and SCO Student Budget Question

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Apr 24, 2008
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For those of you that go to Nova or SCO I was wondering if you could answer my Student Budget questions. I'm from Florida and was wondering if I really save that much money by going to SCO. These are the numbers that I got from Nova and SCO's catalogs.

SCO's Budget
Tuition: $22,488
Fees: $565
Books: $1,085
Equipment: $2,421
Supplies: $540
Housing/food: $8,505
Transportation: $1,575
Personal Expenses: $2,700
Total: $39,879

Nova's Budget
Tuition: $18,885
Fees: $644
Books and Supplies: $9,800
Room and Board: $14,940
Transportation: $2,592
Personal: $2,241
Total: $49,102

I noticed books and supplies at SCO cost $4,046 and Nova's books and supplies cost $9,800. Why is there almost a $6,000 difference in books and supplies? Does Nova really overestimate? Are all the books and equipment necessary? Do these numbers include summer school?

For housing, I know Memphis is cheaper in the city but I heard that's not a great place to live. Mud Island is where I should go, but Mud Island is more expensive. ~500 a month for just rent (not including electricity, water, cable, internet, etc) Fort Lauderdale is around 700 a month for just rent. I think the 200 dollar difference a month offsets the fact that SCO cost $2,000 more for tuition. So it seems the only significant difference in the 2 schools is that Nova cost $6,000 more for books and supplies.

I'm not that familiar with financial aid and loans. Do the schools let you borrow $49,102 for Nova and $39,879 from SCO or do you have to go somewhere to borrow the money.

Thank you in advance for your answers.


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Aug 16, 2006
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The amount you are allowed to borrow for student loans depends on how much money you have, but since most grad students don't have, you know, $100,000 worth of investments or a million dollars in their bank account it's very likely you'll be able to borrow everything you need. If you're smart with your money you will not need to max out your loans every year. Let me know if you have any other questions, I work in fin aid so I know a lot about the process! :)


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Jan 30, 2009
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The books/equipment budget is mostly equipment. The first semester will be the most costly regarding books, as a lot of the "required" books will help you more later on than necessarily for that semester itself. Most of the courses you won't need the textbook for, except for some of the general courses taught by the college of medicine professors.

First semester you're required to buy a diagnostic kit (Retinoscope, transilluminator, ophthalmoscope, etc) which will run around 500, depending on the brand. Welch Allyn is good enough for this.

You also purchase you're main kit, which includes a lens kit, and all the other equipment you'll need for the entire 4 years, except the kit mentioned above and your BIO/90/20/3-mirror lenses. The kit was 2,000 when I got it, it may be more now.

You also order your BIO during your 2nd semester of first year, and put a deposit down (small deposit) or pay for it in full if you like.

This is why the supplies budget is so much, I can't speak for other schools, so I'm not sure how they do it.

Housing wise, 14,000 budgeting for a place is pretty high. If you get a 2 bedroom with a roommate, you're looking at probably 650 or so for rent, then utilities.. the most expensive utility in South Florida is obviously the electric bill for your air conditioning. They budget you as if you're living alone.. so again, it's budgeted a little high for normal students. If you wanted a one bedroom by yourself, you're looking at 1,000 rent per month, plus everything else...