Cost of attendance (coa)
Cost of attendance (COA) is the average annual cost to attend a college or university. It includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, and other expenses. COA is used to calculate how much financial aid a student is eligible for, based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from their FAFSA.
Cost of attendance includes both direct costs and indirect expenses:
Direct costs are those paid directly to the college and include tuition and fees, housing, and meal plan.
Tuition is the amount you owe to attend college for classes and instruction. Some colleges may charge one set tuition rate while others may charge per credit hour.
Fees are additional charges to cover the costs of certain services, for example, technology or lab fees.
Housing is a charge from the college to live on campus. Different housing options on campus will cost different amounts depending on the amenities offered. Be sure to look up the different housing options at your college.
Meal plans are how you pay colleges to dine on campus. Colleges have different approaches to charging for meal plans, with some offering meal credits and others charging per food item.
Institutional health insurance may be required depending on the college. If it’s required, it will be automatically billed to you and can cost several thousand dollars. If you have a comparable health insurance plan, you can submit proof of your plan to waive this charge from your bill.
Indirect "extra" expenses are educational costs not paid directly to the college. They can include textbooks, transportation, dorm furnishings, and other personal expenses.
Now, before you panic, let me explain a few ways you can save money on some of these items:
Indirect "extra" expenses- typically when you review this section, you can omit some of these expenses. For example, you may not need a bus pass or a parking sticker. Look at what they have listed and see how you can reduce the dollar amount.
Housing- the housing plan that's typically listed is for the top-tier (most expensive) housing. Yes, I know you want your student safe, but this doesn't mean they have to live in a mansion.
Meal plans - meal plans are a lot like the housing plan. The price listed is for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. If we're all being honest, we know our students will be at Chick-Fil-A!
Institutional health insurance- this may be required, but if it's not and you have health insurance, this can be removed.
Before you finalize your decision, consider the following:
Quatromoney is a FREE resource to help you make informed decisions when it comes to paying for college.