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Student Financial Assistance

FAQs About Cost of Attendance and/or Budget

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What is Cost of Attendance and/or Budget?
The Cost of Attendance (COA) is the amount the University calculates or estimates that it will cost you to attend for the academic year. Costs includes: tuition/fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. This figure is used solely for the determination of financial aid and does not represent a figure you will owe the University.

Budgets are calculated for undergraduates and graduate and professional students living both on and off campus. A student may not exceed his cost of attendance or budget with any type of financial assistance. Pell grant is the only exception.

Room and board, books, supplies, transportation and personal costs used in the COA or budget are only estimates and will vary with each student.

Will I be charged the total Cost of Attendance on my University bill?
No, only tuition and fees, on campus housing and a meal plan are paid directly to WKU and will be reflected on your University bill. You may choose to have your books charged to your University bill also.
How is my aid determined?
The EFC (Expected Family Contribution) on your SAR (Student Aid Report) is a measure of your family’s ability to pay for college. The financial aid office establishes a Cost of Attendance (COA). The COA includes tuition, fees, estimated living expenses, and books and supplies. Financial need is an official term for how much need-based financial aid you’re eligible for. Your financial need is calculated by subtracting the EFC from COA.

To put it simply, the equation is used is:
COA – EFC = Financial Need

In order for you to receive need-based aid, your Cost of Attendance must be greater than your Expected Family Contribution.

What can I do if I do not receive enough financial aid to cover my educational expenses?
If additional funds are needed to finance your education, you and your parents may want to explore other non-need-based program options. Your parents may be able to borrow from the Federal Direct PLUS Loan program. You may want to consider applying for applying for an alternative loan. It should be noted that alternative loans can be expensive and should only be considered as a last resort.
What should I do if my financial situation changes?
If you or your parents (for dependent students) experience a change in your financial situation, you can request that the Financial Aid Office reevaluate your aid eligibility. You will be asked to complete a Special Circumstances Form describing the change and to provide some form of substantiating documentation. Common situations that may be considered are loss of employment, a reduction in income, unreimbursed medical/dental expenses, divorce and death.

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 Last Modified 9/24/14