DEFINITION of 'Cost Of Attendance'

A figure provided by colleges and/or college financial offices that estimates the total costs of attending that particular school for a period of one year. Included in the estimate are all reasonable expenses such as tuition, room and board, books and supplies, personal expenses and transportation.

BREAKING DOWN 'Cost Of Attendance'

The cost of attendance is an important factor in determining student financial aid. The expected family contribution (EFC) is subtracted from the cost of attendance to determine the calculated financial need. Since college costs include many expenses beyond tuition, the cost of attendance figure can help families budget for all of the expenses. In certain instances, the cost of tuition can be as little as 50% of the total costs per year for attending a college or university.


If the expected family contribution and financial aid package fail to meet the cost of attendance, the student and his or her family can explore alternative student loans, specialized loans that are intended to fill the gap between traditional financial aid and need.




RELATED TERMS
  1. Prepaid Tuition Program

    One of the two major types of 529 plans. Prepaid tuition plans ...
  2. 529 Plan

    A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged account for saving and investing ...
  3. Education Loan

    An education loan is money borrowed to finance education or school ...
  4. Baccalaureate Bond

    A zero-coupon bond issued by certain states to assist families ...
  5. Perkins Loan

    A loan program that provides low-interest student loans to undergraduate ...
  6. Goodness-Of-Fit

    The goodness of fit test is a statistical hypothesis test to ...
Related Articles
  1. Small Business

    Go To College Or Become An Entrepreneur?

    The rising cost of higher education and high unemployment rate following the Great Recession has caused many young people to question the value of college.
  2. Personal Finance

    Saving for College: The Advantages of 529 Plans

    A 529 plan is the most popular way for most families to save for college because it offers flexibility, control and tax advantages.
  3. Personal Finance

    The Increasing Costs Of College

    College tuition is getting more expensive, textbooks are increasing in price and for-profit schools are popping up.
  4. Financial Advisor

    Helping Clients Weigh College Financial Aid Offers

    Now's the time for reviewing financial aid offers, which can often be confusing. Here are a few tips to help clients make sense of them.
  5. Personal Finance

    Tips For Going To College As A Mature Student

    Learn the special considerations mature adults need to make when pursuing a post-secondary education.
  6. Personal Finance

    How Financial Aid for College Tuition Has Changed

    Financial aid for college tuition has gone high-tech and currently favors higher-income applicants.
  7. Personal Finance

    How Paying For College Begins Well Before Freshman Year

    Don't overlook the hidden real costs of paying for college, especially those early expenses that mount while your child is still in high school.
  8. Personal Finance

    How to Find Tuition-Free Colleges for Your Kids

    With some planning and a diligent search, it is possible to find tuition-free colleges.
  9. Personal Finance

    Pay For College Without Selling A Kidney

    Save thousands of dollars on tuition with these tricks and little-known programs.
  10. Personal Finance

    3 Reasons to Attend College in Canada

    Attending college in Europe might be the dream, but with low tuition fees and weakening currency, Canada is the financially responsible choice.
Trading Center