The cost of attendance is a guideline for students to maintain a manageable amount of student loan debt. The Federal Government requires schools to create a standard budget for students who receive financial aid. The budget is used to determine financial aid eligibility each year. It includes a cost of living allowance which provides for a conservative, reasonable, standard of living. This allowance includes room and board, utilities, food, transportation and personal and miscellaneous expenses. In addition, it includes tuition, fees, books and supplies for school. By staying within or under your cost of attendance, you will be able to keep your debt as low as possible.
Expenditures are within the student’s control. Prior debts, such as credit cards and car payments cannot be included into the budget allotment per federal regulations.
Since the majority of Graduate and Professional students’ financing is primarily funded through student loans, students would benefit from staying within their budget.
Over Awards and Cost of Attendance
Federal guidelines mandate that the amount of awarded financial aid may not exceed the total cost of attendance. When the amount of financial aid received from all sources is greater than the total cost of attendance, a financial aid over award occurs. Circumstances that may result in an over award include:
- Additional financial aid from an outside source (scholarships, stipends, grants, etc.) awarded after initial financial aid awards were disbursed.
- A change in residency from out of state to in state.
- Enrollment status change from full time to less than full time.
Please be aware that our office is required to review your financial aid eligibility in the event of an over award and may be required to adjust financial aid awarded to ensure the total aid package remains within federal guidelines. To help prevent an over award, we strongly recommend notifying the Office of Student Financial Aid Services in writing or via firstname.lastname@example.org of any potential awards not already listed on your financial aid award letter.
Spouse and Children
The cost of attendance can only include the student’s educational expenses only. Therefore, spouse and children’s expenses may not be included. Students should not come to school with the expectation that financial aid is available to support their entire family’s bills and expenditures. It is expected that spouses’ will seek employment, if possible. Students cannot use financial aid to replace or supplement a spouse’s wages.
Child care is the only exception to this. If the student’s spouse works outside of the home, a professional judgment may be made to increase the student’s budget for financial aid to cover day care costs.
Expenses Financial Aid May Cover
- Tuition and Fees
- Room and Board (Rent, Utilities, Food)
- Personal, Miscellaneous
- Books, Equipment, Supplies
- Daycare costs (applicable only if both parents work outside of the home)
- Student Health, Disability, Liability Insurance
The mandatory set expenses are tuition, activity fee, medical, life and disability insurance. Daycare costs are only available to students whose spouse works outside of the home or students who are single parents with dependent children.
Expenses Financial Aid May Not Cover
- Moving expenses (including security deposits for apartments and utility hook-up)
- Credit card and other consumer debt
- Car purchases, payments, leases
- Children, spouse and pets
- Furniture purchases
- Down payment on a home
- Summer living expenses
- Co-ops, Home owners association, regime fees, landscaping, home maintenance
- Organization memberships, such as student memberships, health clubs, et cetera.
- Charitable organizations
- Supplementing lost or reduced wages
- Wedding and Engagement expenses
- Vacations, leisure travel, mission trips
- Insurance (i.e. Life, Homeowners, Renters, et cetera.)