Cost of attendance

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Student loans in the U.S.
Regulatory framework
Higher Education Act of 1965
U.S. Dept. of Education
FAFSA · Cost of attendance
Distribution channels
Federal Direct Student Loan Program
Federal Family Education Loan Program
Loan products
Perkins · Stafford
PLUS · Consolidation Loans

Private student loan

In education finance in the United States, the cost of attendance (COA) (also known as the price of attendance) is the estimated full and reasonable cost of completing a full year as a full-time student. The cost of attendance is published by each educational institution and typically includes:

  • Tuition and fees payable to the institution
  • Books and supplies
  • Room and board
  • Personal costs, transportation

As of October 29, 2011, every post-secondary institution that receives federal financial aid funds must post a Net Price Calculator that shows the institution's Cost of Attendance — defined by the federal requirement as the sum of tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other expenses including personal expenses and transportation for a first-time, full-time undergraduate student — and determines for each prospective or current student a personalized Net Price, which is the difference between COA and need and merit-based Grant Aid (not including work-study programs or government subsidized loans).

The published cost of attendance establishes the limits for qualified financial aid and student loans available to the student.

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