Nothing in this part shall be interpreted as limiting the

Cost of Attendance for
Graduate Students
ILASFA Conference 2014
Emily Osborn, Director
Northwestern University Chicago Campus
Michelle Ortiz Wortel, Director
University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine
 Overview of Cost of Attendance
 Professional Judgment and Common Issues
Cost of Attendance
A student’s cost of attendance (COA)
provides the foundation for
reasonable educational expenses.
COA, along with the EFC, is the means
for awarding need-based financial aid
and limits the total financial aid a
student may receive.
COA Allowable Costs
Allowable costs determined by
Tuition and fees
Books and supplies
Miscellaneous personal expenses
Room and board
Loan fees
See HEA Part F, Sec 472;
FSA Handbook Vol 3, Ch 2
COA Allowable Costs
Add on an individual basis
 Dependent care
 One time cost for first
professional license or
 Study-abroad expenses
 Disability expenses
 Employment expenses for co-op
Tuition and Fees
 Normally assessed for a student
carrying the same academic
 Includes costs of rental or purchase
of equipment (including equipment
for instruction by
telecommunications), materials, or
supplies required of all students in
the same course of study
Books, Supplies, Transportation,
Miscellaneous Personal Expenses
 Includes a reasonable amount,
determined and documented by
the school, for the rental or
purchase of a personal computer
 May also include costs for
operating and maintaining a car
used to and from school (but not
for the purchase of a vehicle)
Room and Board
 For students without dependents,
living at home with parents, the
allowance is determined by school
 For students living on campus, the
allowance is the standard amount
normally assessed most residents
 For those living off-campus, not
with parents, the allowance must
be based on reasonable expenses
for the student’s room and board
Loan Fees
For students receiving loans, the
loan fees required to receive
 Required for federal loans
 e.g. origination fee
 Optional for non-federal loans
 Use exact loan fees charged or
an average charged for same
type of loan
Dependent Care
 Covers care during periods that include,
but are not limited to class time, study
time, field work, internships, and
commuting time for the student
 Amount based on the number and age of
 Amount not to exceed reasonable cost in
the community for the type of care
Professional License or Certificate
 One-time direct costs for
first professional license or
 Program must require
license or certificate
 Only allowed one time per
student per eligible
academic program
Professional License or Certificate
 Costs must be incurred during (not
after) a period of enrollment, even
if the exam is after the end of the
 fees to take a licensing exam
 costs of applying for and obtaining
the license or certification
 at school’s discretion, costs
incurred in traveling to a residency
interview for a medical student
Study Abroad
 If approved for credit by the
student’s home institution,
reasonable costs associated
with such study may be
 May include transportation
to and from the study
abroad location
Disability Expenses
Allowance for expenses related
to the student’s disability
Special services
Personal assistance
Supplies reasonably
incurred and not provided
by other agencies
Employment Expenses for Co-op Study
Allowance for reasonable
costs associated with such
For example:
 Travel to and from work
 Uniforms
COA Restrictions & Exceptions
Less than half-time enrollment
 Only include tuition, fees, books,
supplies, transportation , and
limited amount for dependent care
 Room & board for a limited
 Do not include miscellaneous or
personal expenses
COA Restrictions & Exceptions
Correspondence study
 Generally, COA is restricted
to tuition, fees, books and
 If required residential
training may include books,
supplies, travel allowance,
room and board
COA Restrictions & Exceptions
Incarcerated Students
 Limited to tuition, fees,
books and supplies
 Ineligible for FSA loans
 If student is in a federal or
state penal institution,
they are ineligible for Pell
Professional Judgment
Nothing in this part shall be
interpreted as limiting the
authority of the financial aid
administrator, on the basis of
adequate documentation, to
make adjustments on a caseby-case basis to the cost of
HEA Sec 484(c)
Professional Judgment
 Authority to adjust COA on a
case-by-case basis to allow
for special circumstances
 Adjustments must be
documented in the file
Justify it
Student request
Credit card statements
One-Time Licensure Increases
One Time Licensure Increases
 At Northwestern we provide increases under
the “One Time Licensure” allowance for
students in the Law and Medical programs
 Costs associated with registering for the Bar
 Costs associated with traveling for residency
Costs Associated with Registering for
the Bar Exam
 Each year we collect all of the costs associated with
registering for the Bar Exam in Illinois to determine
our standard allowance.
 These costs include the on-time registration costs of:
the IL Bar Exam, Character and Fitness
Questionnaire, MPRE, exam laptop fee, loan fees
 We do not automatically build in this allowance. 3L
students are notified of this allowable increase and
must request the increase by contacting the aid
 If student is not taking the IL Bar and the costs associated
with another state’s Bar exceed the IL Bar, student must
gather documentation of the other state’s expenses and
submit those along with the request for the increase.
Residency Travel Request
 We allow a one-time increase of up to
$3,000 with no documentation, though
students must complete a request form
 If students incur costs greater than $3,000,
they must document all of the costs
associated with residency travel
 In 2013 a total of 9 students requested
 6 took the $3,000, 1 borrowed $1,000 and 2
appealed for additional funding
 Both were in very selective tracks and so were told
to pursue a second track as well
 1 increase for $14,957
 1 increase for $20,922
Residency Travel Request Form
What are some of your
unique COA cases?
Contact Info
• Emily Osborn, Director
Northwestern University Chicago Campus
• Michelle Ortiz Wortel, Director
University of Illinois at Chicago, College of