Mapping Your Future: Changes to cost of attendance rules for 2023-24


Changes to cost of attendance rules for 2023-24

By Catherine Mueller

May 01, 2023

The cost of college is a worry for most parents and students – partly because they know tuition and fees are not the only costs associated with attending postsecondary education.

Fortunately, the college financial aid offices (as well as the U.S. Department of Education) recognize that the cost of attending college includes a lot of other expenses as well.

Colleges must follow specific federal guidelines on what can be included in the cost of attendance (COA) and for the upcoming 2023-24 academic year, there were some changes.

The COA components for the 2023-24 award year and beyond include:

  • tuition and fees
  • books, course materials, supplies, and equipment
  • transportation between campus and home or work
  • personal expenses
  • living expenses, including food and housing costs

The COA may also include allowances for:

  • student loan fees
  • dependent care
  • disability expenses
  • study abroad program fees
  • remote instruction costs; correspondence program costs
  • experiential learning program costs
  • costs related to obtaining a professional credential or license.

Colleges are requested to make a list of all COA components publicly available and share this information on their website where tuition and fee costs are published.

The total COA is used in determining financial aid offers. A student’s expected family contribution, which is determined by completing a FAFSA, is subtracted from the COA to determine if a student has financial need.