Simple Tuition Tips
SimpleTuition Tips: Understanding Your Cost to Attend
The cost of attendance (COA) is generally a yearly figure that is designed to help summarize the various costs of enrolling at a school. It takes into account:
- Tuition and fees
- Room and board, often determined by your on-campus housing selection or an estimate of off-campus expenses
- Books and supplies, estimated for all students or by your field of study
- Other expenses, such as personal expenses (i.e., shampoo, movies, etc.), transportation, loan fees, and, under special circumstances, dependent care or unusual medical or dental expenses
- Most schools publish the average COA each year. Once admitted, you may see your specific COA on your financial aid award offer. Remember, the COA is the amount used in the calculation of your financial aid award based on their estimate of your expected family contribution. Depending on your spending choices (i.e., housing choices, meal choices, personal spending, etc.), you and your family may end up contributing less (or more) than the COA.
- Don’t expect that your college will bill you for all the items in the COA, such as your personal expenses. Your bill reflects the actual charges for items such as tuition, fees, on-campus housing, and meal plans. Non-billable costs, such as your transportation costs, must be paid out-of-pocket, but are estimated in the COA to help you plan for your college costs.