What is the Cost of Attendance? Applying for Financial Aid

Understanding the Cost of Attendance is critical. I personally deferred the pursuit of my college education because I failed to understand what was Cost of Attendance. I had received $1000’s in scholarships which would have covered my tuition over my entire undergraduate degree program. But, because I misunderstood the Cost of Attendance, I made a decision not to continue going to college immediately. I was quoted a Cost of Attendance that included Tuition & Fees, Books & Supplies, Room & Board, Travel and Personal Cost for my first academic year in the amount of $12000.00. It was unfortunate because I lost out on the scholarships by delaying to attend college.

The reality is that my tuition was just a portion of the Cost of Attendance. My tuition was less than $1500.00 and I was living at home. My scholarships would have covered my first academic year. In fact, the scholarships I had been awarded would have covered all 4 years of college tuition. This was a valuable lesson to learn.

It is important that you get the Cost of Attendance from each college, school or university you are looking to submit application. Federal regulation requires that the Cost of Attendance be provided in detail upon request by the institutions financial aid office. Please reach out to the institutions to get them to provide you the Tuition & Fees, Books & Supplies, Room & Board, Travel and Personal Cost. Upon receiving them, add them to the Cost of Attendance worksheet.


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