What do I need to know about the Cost of Attendance?

Direct and Indirect costs are not listed in the same way by all institutions: Some schools may represent their costs “per semester” and some “per year.” When comparing the costs of schools, make sure to read the COA information very carefully.

Direct Costs: Be aware that you are looking at tuition & fee costs for the current year rather than the year you will begin school. These costs may increase 1-4% each year, depending on the institution. Your actual housing and meal costs will depend on the type of plan you select or if you live on or off campus.

Indirect Costs: The indirect costs are merely estimates made by the institution. Your actual indirect expenses may be different. Books and supply costs will depend on your major. Transportation costs depend on how far you are from home. Personal expenses are very personal!

Where do I find the Cost of Attendance?

Search for the term “cost of attendance” or “tuition” on an institution’s website. Each school may choose to display the COA differently, but all institutions must disclose it.

The price of Colleges and Universities varies widely in the US. With that in mind, you can control the price of your education by choosing where to apply

Look for the Net Price not just the COA:

Your net price is a college’s “sticker price” for tuition, fees, room, and board (COA) of a college minus the grants and scholarships received. The net price you pay for a particular college is specific to you because it’s based on your personal circumstances and the financial aid. Awarded by the college.

Because of merit or need-based institutional grants and scholarships that may be awarded with an offer of admissions, the costs of a private school may well be equal or less than the cost of a public school.

Focus on comparing the net price between schools

What is the Net Price Calculator?

A Net Price Calculator (NPS) is provided on the website of every US college or university, as required by US law. The NPC takes family income, assets, and expenses into account and gives a rough estimate of the grant and scholarship funding that a student might receive. Using these rough numbers, the NPC calculates the student’s net price.

The NPC is NOT accurate for international students.

This tool is designed for US citizens and residents and will generally not be accurate for international students because is usually includes federal aid estimates.

Extra fees and hidden costs for International Study:

It’s very important that international students plan for all expenses for four years. Keep in mind that tuition and fees generally increase between 1% and 4% each year and be prepared for the financial commitment for four years.

Visit for more information and help with funding your college experience!

Published by BestFitEdu

Your first choice for navigating the complexities of college admissions and boarding school placement. With our deeply personalized approach, we build in time to get to know you, online or in person, and to understand your goals, your talents, and your strengths. Our practical, detail-oriented tools and ethical, responsible guidance will empower you to find the best-fit school environment where you will flourish academically, socially, and emotionally. We offer customized admissions guidance for US and international students who are open to expanding their college search beyond their own country and across the world.

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