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 · Expected Family Contribution
Distribution channels
Federal Direct Student Loan Program
Federal Family Education Loan Program
Loan products
Perkins · Stafford
PLUS · Consolidation Loans
Private student loans

In discussions of the cost of college in the United States, the cost of attendance (COA) (also known as the price of attendance) is a statutory term for the estimated full and reasonable cost of completing a full academic year (usually, nine months) as a full-time student. The cost of attendance is published by each educational institution and includes:

  • Tuition and fees payable to the institution
  • Books and supplies
  • Room and board
  • Personal costs (medical, toiletries, clothing, laundry)
  • Transportation to and from the school

As of October 29, 2011, every post-secondary institution that receives federal financial aid funds is required to post its COA. Colleges are also required to post a Net Price Calculator, that 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 loans or work-study programs).

Financial aid cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance.

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