What is a Cost of Attendance (COA)?
The cost of attendance (COA) is the cornerstone of establishing a student’s financial need, as it sets a limit on the total aid that a student may receive. The COA is not the bill that you get; it is the total amount it will cost you to go to college each year. It includes direct and indirect expenses and is based on the length of the period of enrollment.
If you’re attending at least half-time, your COA includes the following:
- tuition and fees
- the cost of housing and food
- the cost of books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and miscellaneous expenses
For students attending less than half-time, the COA includes tuition and fees and an allowance for books.
This comprehensive cost figure is used when processing financial aid applications and educational loans to ensure that a realistic and reasonable allowance is made for all expenses. The Cost of Attendance is based on a comprehensive review of actual costs a student will incur through the University as well as typical expenses for a student each academic year.
During a given period of enrollment (usually a two-trimester academic year), a student is not allowed to receive a total amount of student aid (including scholarships, grants, federal student loans, private student loans, and Federal Work-Study) that exceeds that student’s Cost of Attendance.
What’s my Cost of Attendance?
We strongly urge students to limit their borrowing to an amount that is less than the standard Cost of Attendance. In some cases, a student may incur allowable education expenses that are either greater than the amounts included in the standard budget or not included at all. At SFS’s discretion, students may request an adjustment based on their documented actual expenses. Please visit the COA Increase Request Form page for additional information.