Cost of attendance, or COA, is the estimated amount of money it will cost you to go to college full-time for one academic year (nine months). It includes tuition, room and board, books, transportation, loan fees, and miscellaneous expenses. Schools use COA to set the limit on how much financial aid a student can get from scholarships, Pell Grants, and student loans for the school year to cover those costs.
The COA your school gives you will change based on your circumstances. For example, you’ll have a different COA if you live on-campus versus off-campus or if you commute from home. Similarly, you’ll have a different COA if you’re a resident, non-resident, or international student, or if you’re an undergraduate or graduate student.
Is cost of attendance the same as tuition? No, cost of attendance is not the same as tuition. Tuition is only one component of cost of attendance. In addition to tuition, COA includes room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.