FAQ – Income and Expenses
1. How do students studying fulltime at a hawza support themselves financially?
Tuition is free for all students. All students are also provided a basic monthly stipend (called “shahriyya”); the shahriya of married students is usually double that of unmarried students.
Unmarried students are provided with accommodation and food. Therefore, they usually do not face a major challenge in managing within their shahriya.
Married students however, need to lead a life of financial discipline, especially in the first 2-3 years. Subsequently things ease off, as a student’s shahriya grows with seniority, and as he no longer needs to spend on housing deposit and buy several household items all within a short time-frame. Having some savings at the start of married life certainly helps.
2. Can I work while studying at the Hawza?
Not much. It is illegal under Iranian law for a non-Iranian Hawza student to take up employment or to conduct a business. Besides the Hawza program of study is a demanding one and leaves very little time for other activities.
3. How can I supplement my shahriya income?
It is possible for a student to supplement his shahriya by taking up translation, research, writing, propagation (tableegh) or teaching assignments. However, it usually takes a few years of study before a student develops the abilities required to effectively carry out such assignments.
Please note that other activities may supplement your income but unless kept in control, will also affect your progress as a student.
4. Can I save some money as a Hawza student? Can I send some money home to my parents every month?
As far as we have seen, this is very difficult to do; it may be nearly impossible in the first few years of Hawza study.
5. What are the things that a married Taalibe ‘Ilm needs to spend on?
The main expense items of a Talibe ‘Ilm’s family are: Housing (Deposit and Rental), Food, Transport, Phone and internet usage, books and writing material, children’s needs. Medical expenses are subsidized via compulsory Medical Insurance. MIU provides return air-fare for a student and his family once in the course of each degree program (for e.g. only once during B.A.).
6. Can you please provide me with some idea of monthly expenses for a family in Iran?
With high inflation, prices in Iran tend to change rapidly. The following estimates are minimum estimates for a family of 2-3 people, based on the situation in Qom in the summer of 2013. Esfahan and Mashhad are probably more expensive.
- Refundable Deposit: 30-50 lakh toman
- Monthly Rental 1.5-2.0 lakh toman
- Please note that the higher the deposit, the lower the rent; in fact with a sufficiently high deposit, monthly rental can be brought down to zero.
- Groceries: 1.5 lakh toman per month
- Electricity, Phone, Gas, Water Bills: 30 thousand toman per month
- Transport: 20 thousand toman per month (having a bike can save a lot of money)
- Miscellaneous: 50 thousand toman per month
Please note that: At present, about 50 Tomans equals to 1 Indian Rupee.
Managing the above monthly expenses within a fresh student’s Shahriya can sometimes be difficult but, with the help of Hazrat Ma’suma (s.a.), it is possible. Then after a couple of years, as a student’s shahriya and other income grows, it becomes less difficult.
7. Do I need to have some savings with me when I shift to Iran?
It is not necessary, but it will certainly help; especially for married students. With savings you can pay a heavier deposit to rent a house; monthly rentals come down significantly with a heavy deposit. Savings can also help buy household furniture and appliances to start up the new house. And if you still have some savings left over after that, you can place it into a Fixed Deposit in an Iranian bank and supplement your income from the relatively high returns that Iranian banks pay.
8. Can I transfer money in and out of Iran using banking channels?
It is not easy. Western banking sanctions have made it very difficult to do so. Moving money between the UAE and Iran at present seems to be the least problematic route.