Cost of Attendance vs. Billed Costs

  • What exactly is the "cost of attendance?"
    The term cost of attendance (COA), sometimes referred to as a student budget, is an estimate of what attending one year may cost a traditional student. Your COA is often higher than your direct billed amount since it includes basic living expenses in addition to tuition and fees. For example, the COA includes an allowance for transportation because we recognize that you may need to pay for gas, bus tickets or even vehicle costs, but the University is not going to bill you for transportation expenses. It’s simply a cost allowance that an average student could possibly incur.
  • Why is the cost of attendance shown in my Banner student portal?
    Each student who submits a FAFSA is assigned a COA based on the particular degree or certificate program they are enrolled in. This COA gives an estimate of what it will cost to attend SCSU for one academic year.  The COA also sets a limit, which is federally required, on the amount of financial aid you can receive during a period of enrollment.  Therefore, the total amount of your financial aid, including scholarships and loans, cannot exceed your cost of attendance.
  • What's included in my cost of attendance?
    Your COA is made up of two different types of costs: direct and indirect.

    • Direct costs are items that will appear on your University bill, such as tuition and fees.  For more information on SCSU’s direct costs, please visit Student Account’s Tuition and Fee webpage and Resident Life's Cost and Eligibility to Live on Campus page.
    • Indirect costs are estimated costs associated with attending the University and will not appear on your bill. These include allowances for books, transportation, and personal expenses.


Example: Undergraduate Direct and Indirect Costs that make up the COA:

(Please note, this is an estimated COA based upon full-time enrollment and would be adjusted for less than full-time enrollment or a single-term enrollment.)


On Campus

Off Campus










**Housing (standard double)




**Meal Plan




Total Billed




Books & Supplies












Loan Fees




Housing and Food




Total Cost of Attendance



*Actual tuition and fees will be available on -

**Actual housing and food will be available on -


Housing/Meal Plans are:

  • Direct Costs if you choose to live on campus (billed by the University).
  • Indirect Costs if you choose to commute from your family’s home or your personal apartment/residence.

Your COA will include either Housing/Meal Plans or a Housing and Food allowance based on the housing option chosen.


The transportation allowance refers to the cost of traveling to and from campus, and the cost of operating and maintaining a vehicle. 


The personal expenses allowance is an estimate of costs for clothing, toiletries, etc., for the year. 


Direct Loan fees are the origination fees charged by the federal government and deducted from the federal student loans. Visit our Loans page for more information.