Poverty Paper.

Poverty Paper




1) Create a budget table (to turn in) showing a detailed budget with how much you are currently spending (and is spent on you) on housing, food, utilities, medical insurance, tuition (look at your bill in banner), textbooks, UTM fees, and all other expenses per month. Pretend for the sake of this budget you are single with no children or dependents. If you live on campus, then you take how much you pay per semester for your dorm and divide it by how many months you live there. This will show how much you “spend” on rent and bills. If you live with your parents divide the bills and mortgage/rent by how many people live in the residence. Make sure to go look at your UTM bill online (Banner->Financial aid->Overall status->account summary->Costs ONLY) and look at how much you were charged in terms of tuition, housing, food plan, and fees… for the semester and divide it by four. If you have out of state tuition or are a part time student, be sure to have that labeled clearly in your chart as your tuition will be different. Make sure to NOT use the number you were charged AFTER your grants, loans, and scholarships were applied, but the total amount charged.


2) Create a second budget table using the following guidelines:

Assume you live alone (not in your parent’s home) and are poor and single with no children, but above poverty (as defined by the US government). This means that your income is $1,073 per month*. All of your expenses listed in the first chart, including rent, food, gas, utilities, insurance, transportation, parking expenses, clothing, etc. must be within these income limits. If your expenses are higher than your budget make realistic cuts. You may have to drop out of college, sell your car, move, or get a roommate for example to make your budget work. Assume that your parents are either unable or unwilling to financially help you out with any of your expenses, so living at home for free is not an option. 


For the “poverty” budget: Pretend as if your tuition ONLY are covered fully, yet all other expenses (fees, books, parking, housing, food…) are to be paid for by you. The $1,073 must cover everything but your tuition.


For both budgets anything that is paid off or truly free make sure those categories are still in the chart with a zero cost so they are not seemingly forgotten. 


3) After creating both budget tables (no pie charts) that are detailed with the totals calculated (for the second chart the total can not be more than $1,073), take a stance in your essay paper arguing if the welfare and poverty guidelines are realistic or not.


Make sure to answer the questions below in your paper.


  • What expenses would you have to cut? (gas, car, phone, subscriptions, etc.). What would it be like to live like that? For example, if you are unable to afford a car, how will you get around?


  • Could you live where you currently live? (Could you afford it?) If not, where would you have to live? (You need to look through the Housing section in your local paper or online and look at the areas where you could afford to live. Where are these locations? Give the actual addresses. (Research)


  • Discuss the likelihood that you would be able to afford UTM on your poverty budget. Would another college or no college at all be more realistic considering your income? How would this affect your future?


  • How would the quality of your life change on this budget? Think in terms of how the poverty budget will affect your future. Think of what you want for your life. Marriage? Kids? Owning a home? Vacations? Retirement?  Will this budget allow you to do so?


  • What would you eat? Describe the food you could afford to buy, and what you would have to do without. This should be at minimum about $6.00 per day. (Make sure that food is in your monthly budget chart)


This paper is an “opinion” paper so there is no right or wrong way to answer it.  You should, however, utilize sociological concepts to make your arguments and be detailed.


This paper should be 3 full pages with a cover page (12pt font, double spaced, Times New Roman, 1-inch margins, page numbers). Paragraph spacing settings should be set to not have additional space before or after paragraphs.


Both tables should be attached at the end of the paper as separate pages (neither the cover page nor charts count towards your 3 pages).


Support your argument using at least one concept or idea quoted and cited in ASA format from the chapter on stratification in the textbook or the Waging a Living video. ASA format should be followed both in the paper and in the works cited. ASA format is required for all aspects of the paper except for an abstract, margins, word count, and the running header.


Refer to the ASA format sheet posted on canvas. Do not rely on Word or other software or websites to create your citations for you, they are almost always wrong. Failure to do a works cited in correct ASA format will result in points being deducted. Works cited citations should be listed in alphabetical order.


The poverty paper should be one single document submission and organized like this:


1) Cover Page

2) 3 pages minimum paper

3) works cited

4) Real budget

5) Imaginary poverty budget


Papers and both charts must be submitted through Canvas – all papers will automatically be submitted through a program that checks for plagiarism.


Papers without budgets will have an automatic 50% grade deduction.


This paper is due through Canvas on March 2nd.


10 points will be deducted (each calendar day) for late papers. Late papers must also be turned in through Canvas.


It is the student’s responsibility to check and make sure their paper uploaded to Canvas correctly, failure to do so will result in points being deducted.


See rubric posted on Canvas for specific point deduction amounts

* https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines

[i] Assignment is based off of: http://www.umb.edu/academics/cla/dept/economics/faculty/documents/kim_econ395.pdf

Poverty Paper

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