Cost of Attendance

NYSFAAA Conference 2015
• Wednesday October 28, 2015
• 9:45am-10:45am Cost of Attendance Session
• Welcome to Buffalo, New York; An All America
• If time allows, perhaps your interest may include:
Chicken Wings; Pizza; Beef on Weck; Paula’s Donuts;
Visit Niagara Falls; Albright Knox Art Gallery;
Burchfield Penny Art Center; Frank Lloyd Wright
House; Shea’s Theater; Naval Park & Canalside; Root
for the Buffalo Sabres; Buffalo Bills; (Budget wisely and
it will be a great visit to the Queen City.)
Cost of Attendance
• When developing the Cost of Attendance, the
guiding principle is?
• A. Time
• B. Technical/Staffing Limitations
• C. Reasonableness
• D. All of the above
C. Reasonableness
• Student budgets are designed to provide
students with an accurate projection of
reasonable costs.
Cost of Attendance
• When costs are understated, students may
• A. Financial Difficulties
• B. Poor Academic Performance
• C. Retention Issues
• D. Higher Consumer Debt
• E. All of the above
E. All of the above
• We want all students to be able to afford college
and not experience financial difficulties.
• We want all students to perform well academically.
• We want to see all students progress and succeed.
• We want to see students with low debt.
• We want the best for our students, so they can
learn, grow, and pursue the American Dream.
Cost of Attendance
Development, Research, and Finalizing
• COAs should reflect reasonable and realistic costs that
a typical student in a given set of circumstances will
incur, within a moderate lifestyle, to attend an
institution for a given period of time.
• COA may only include expenses incurred during the
period of enrollment. Enrollment period generally
reflects 9 months for an academic year.
• (NASFAA Monograph December 2014, Number 24)
• Brent McEnroe, Assistant Director Quality Assurance & Funds
• University at Buffalo (SUNY) The State University of New York
Talking Points
• Institution
• Basic COA Components
• Allowable COA Components
• Helpful Hints
• Resources
• Disclaimer
• Questions
Institutions Responsibility Regarding
Development & Documentation
• 1. Policy and Procedure Manual-the development of the
standard Cost of Attendance needs to be on file and
accessible. (Careers: UGRD, GRAD, PHARM, LAW, Etc…)
2. Supporting documentation for standard COA construction.
(Ex: survey’s, internet links, publications, local housing costs,
3. Maintain consistency within each division/across student
population(s). (Careers.)
4. Maintain documentation for adjustments on a case by case
basis. (PJ)
5. To ensure COA’s are comprehensive & adequate, periodic
reviews of the COA research is necessary.
Can you provide some Basic COA Components?
Basic COA Components
• Tuition & Fees
• Books & Supplies
• Transportation
• Personal (Miscellaneous)
• Room & Board
• *Loan Fees (Required for Direct Loan borrower(s);
Optional for nonfederal conventional loan)
Tuition & Fees
• Tuition & fee charges are allowed in a COA if the
coursework is credited toward the student’s degree
or educational program.
• If institutions assess tuition & fees at different rates
for full time, three-quarter time, half-time, and lessthan-half-time, the institution needs to have the
tuition & fees of the COA applicable to the students
• Required fees that are billable should be part of the
tuition & fees component of the COA.
Tuition & Fees
• Optional fees can be addressed on a case by case
basis via PJ. (Example: health insurance, lab fees,
• Build and have a positive relationship with Student
Accounts/Bursar, Departments, etc…. Helps with
• Tuition & Fees Approval via Board of
Trustees/SUNY/CUNY, etc….
Books & Supplies
• Rental or purchase of equipment, materials, or
supplies can be in Tuition & Fees component of
COA. (Mandated expenses for certain programs.)
• Departments can provide itemized statements of
required materials.
• Books/Supplies is separate than items included in
the Tuition & Fees.
• You can develop separate Books/Supplies COA
component for certain programs like Art,
Architecture, Medicine, Nursing, Law, Engineering,
Books & Supplies
• Students who are ¾, ½, or less than ½ time, Books
& Supplies will generally be proportionate to the
student course load.
Additional materials can be reviewed, approved or
denied on a case by case basis using PJ.
Supporting documentation for PJ is acceptable from
Academic Support Services, Instructors, other
designated campus staff.
Institution bookstore, local bookstore, and online
venues are avenues to help you reach the Books &
Supplies figure. (Rent, Purchase, New, Used.)
Prepare and provide a survey to students.
• 1. Transportation allowance may include the cost of
travel between the student’s residence and the
2. Transportation allowance may include travel
necessary to complete a course of study.
3. Transportation allowance may include the payment for
the purchase of a vehicle or lease of a car.
4. Transportation allowance may include the cost of
operating and maintaining a car (gas, oil, license,
insurance, repair).
• You can survey commuter students to determine an
average distance & frequency; Survey distance,
method, and frequency for on campus students
traveling home during the school year.
• You can use the IRS Daily mileage rate times the
number of miles per week, times the number of
weeks in the semester or year.
• Cost, frequency, distance can be applicable for
public transportation to help determine the
transportation figure.
• Unusual, unanticipated, & emergency travel
expenses can be reviewed/determined on a case
by case basis. (PJ)
• Can Recreational Activities be included in this
YES (As long as they are not already included in
the tuition & fees portion of the COA.)
P/M includes Laundry, cleaning, personal hygiene
and grooming.
For the student to live at a reasonable cost,
surveys & or governmental data can be utilized.
Meals not covered by the board plan should not be
part of this category, rather part of the board
section. (Budget increase if allowable via PJ.)
Room & Board
• If Room & Board is supplied at no charge, then
COA for this item must be $0.
If Room & Board is charged & in COA, the charge
is waived, then Room & Board waiver is a financial
aid resource.
Room costs include rent, insurance, internet, and
Board cost includes meal expenses.
For students who live Off Campus or Commute,
you can include a Living Allowance to capture
Room & Board costs. (Terminology.)
Room & Board
• Build a positive rapport with some or all of the
following places to assist with Room & Board COA
• Campus Housing & Dining
• Local rental agencies
• Local grocery stores & food suppliers
• Nutrition stores
• Local utility companies
Loan Fees
• Institutions can use an average amount or actual
• An institution must include a loan fee allowance if
the student actually borrows a Direct Sub/Unsub
• PLUS is dependent upon when the application is on
file, awarding of loans, and if PLUS is the only form
of aid.
• Conventional student loan fees can be included, not
home equity.
Loan Fees
3 Options for calculating Loan Fees:
• 1. Average loan amount for all students multiplied
by the loan fee percentage.
• 2. Calculate separate loan fee averages for UGRD
and GRAD students. (More accurate.)
• 3. Calculate an average loan fee amount for each
annual loan limit.
• If institutions package with ‘estimated’ Direct
Loan(s), the COA may include loan fees, even if not
accepted or applied for the loan.
Additional Allowable Costs
• Disability-related expenses: COA for disabled student can include
reasonable costs associated with the disability, if not already
Dependent Care: Student with one or more dependents during class
time, study time, field work, research, internships, commuting, and
other educational endeavors.
Study Abroad: Additional transportation costs, Administrative
fees/charges; Documentation/vaccination requirements, etc….
Cooperative Education Program: Commuting/transportation costs,
meals away from home, other expenses related to the work
Professional Credential: One time cost of obtaining the first
professional credential for a student in a field requiring professional
license/certification (application & exam cost, travel for interviews,
Additional Allowable Costs
• Personal Computer: Students enrolled at least ½ time, rental
or purchase documentation. Institution policy and procedures should
include the conditions for the allowance, amount, and supporting
documentation requirements.
• Military On Base Housing: Students living on base or in
housing the military provides an allowance, COA can only include
board, not the room. Cannot PJ to add back in the room.
Online Only Programs
• Students enrolled in an online program with no
coursework taken in a traditional classroom setting
are allowed the same cost of attendance as
students in all other programs.
• If an FAA determines via PJ that distant education
results in a substantially reduced COA, a reduction
is allowable with solid documentable reasoning.
(similar to commuter versus on campus/off campus)
Include the reduction process in the institutions
Policy and Procedure Manual.
COA Tidbits
• Incarcerated Students: Can only include books and supplies if
required, and tuition and fees.
Distance Education (television, audio, computer transmission):
Distance Education courses do not have COA restrictions.
Correspondence Study: (A school provides instructional materials
& exams, but students don’t physically attend classes at the
institution.) You can include the contractual tuition/fees,
books/supplies; transportation/room/board figures while fulfilling the
required training.
Less than half time: tuition/fees, books/supplies, transportation,
dependent care. Room/board is the institutions option not more than
3 semesters or not more than 2 consecutive semesters. No
monitoring of attendance at other institutions.
Finance Charges: Students and families who choose to pay their
bill over time incur finance charges. The finance charges are not
educational expenses and cannot be part of the student’s cost of
COA Tidbits
• True or False:
• The law does not specify what documentation you
must collect for expenses.
• TRUE: You can document these expenses in a
reasonable way-interview, written statement,
• Awards for each of the Federal Student Aid (FSA)
programs are based on some form of financial
need, beginning with the cost of attendance (COA).
Helpful Hints
• Develop a calendar for the year (meetings,
construction, finalization, updates to technical, run
simulations, deadlines, website, etc..)
Minimally 13 Departmental COA’s (times 2 or 3 =‘s
need to streamline processes)
Make notes during the process, so at the end you
can update Policy & Procedures
Train staff and provide updates
Before moving forward and or providing update to
technical, pull together a few staff members to
discuss/finalize the process
Helpful Hints
• Partnership: Contact each department & meet with
them; request they survey/research/prepare
books/supplies/items specific to their students
educational expenses
Collaborate with Student Accounts
Collaborate with Athletics
Collaborate with Admissions
Collaborate with Departments
Keep in mind ‘Reasonableness’
Before publication in College Catalogue, ask to
review a copy
• 2015-2016 Federal Student Aid Handbook
• Volume 3 Calculating Awards & Packaging, Chapter
2 Cost of Attendance:
• NASFAA Monograph December 2014, Number 24
• IRS (Internal Revenue Service) Standard Mileage
Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Example: Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer
Expenditure Survey, 2012:
Institution Housing & Dining Departments
Campus & Local Book Store(s)
Online Vendors for Materials
5 Volunteers to Answer a Question
• 1. The Cost of Attendance can be a political hot
issue on your campus. (True or False)
2. The purpose of the COA is to determine
realistically how much money it will take to get the
student through the enrollment period. (True or
3. One way to judge if your COA budgets are
realistic is to track the requests from students
asking for more funds for the semester/year. (True
or False)
5 Volunteers to Answer a Question
• 4. Your policy should state how often a student may
receive funds for a new computer. (True or False)
• 5. The location for Cost of Attendance information
within the Federal Student Aid Handbook is: 20152016; Volume 3 Calculating Awards & Packaging;
Chapter 2 – Cost of Attendance (Budget). (True or
• *Information is subject to change without notice due
to changes in federal, state, and/or institutional
rules and regulations. Students must complete a
FAFSA every year. Students must be making
satisfactory academic progress to continue to
receive financial aid.
• Disclaimer good to advise students & for website.
• **All photos within this presentation are via google photos.
• The goal of this presentation is to provide you some
additional information to assist with the construction
of annual Cost of Attendance. My goal is that you
learn at least one new item/aspect from this
• This presentation supplies you with items for
development, research avenues, and allows for you
to finalize COA(s). Good luck!
Cost of Attendance
Thank you!!!!
• Brent McEnroe, Assistant Director Quality Assurance &
Funds Management
(SUNY) University at Buffalo
The State University of New York