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The U.S. Department of Education directs the University to determine costs associated with attending KU in order to determine the amount of financial aid for which a student may be eligible. The cost of attendance for a student estimates a student’s educational expenses for a period of academic enrollment.

Applies to: 

KU students

Policy Statement: 

The U.S. Department of Education allows certain educational expenses to be used when determining a school’s Cost of Attendance (COA). A school has the discretion to determine which costs will be used to determine the COA. At KU, the following educational expenses are considered when determining the COA:

  • Tuition: These costs are determined for undergraduate students, graduate students and professional students. Full-time undergraduate, pharmacy and law students are budgeted for 15 hours each fall and spring semester. Full-time graduate students are budgeted for 12 hours each fall and spring semester. Students taking less than a full-time course load will have their budget reviewed and adjusted, as needed. There are resident and non-resident budgets for each group. All undergraduates are included in either the standard tuition group or one of the tuition compact groups. Students participating in an online-only course of study will have their tuition costs set based on the specific program.
  • Campus, Infrastructure and Course Fees: All student budgets include an allowance for the required campus fee and infrastructure fee. Course fees incurred by students are included on a per student basis on request. However, course fees for law students and pharmacy students are already included in the standard budgets.
  • Loan Fees: The origination fees required to receive federal student loans are included as an educational cost in all student budgets.
  • Housing and Meals: These costs are determined for both undergraduate and graduate and law students. Undergraduates receive a budget for either on-campus or off-campus costs or a budget for living at home with parents. Undergraduate on-campus costs are based on a weighted average of KU housing and food plans offered while off-campus costs are based on survey data. Graduate and law costs are based on survey data. All housing budgets include an allowance for the cost of a cell phone.
  • Books: This component is determined using an average cost for books for an academic year based on data from a random sample of students at each level.
  • Transportation: This category covers the cost of operating and maintaining a car, the cost of trips home to permanent residence at  breaks, and the cost of a parking permit. Costs are based on survey data and yearly information about the cost of parking permits.
  • Personal Expenses: These costs are averaged from survey data. Personal expenses surveyed include: clothing, laundry, personal grooming, household purchases, medical co-pays and prescriptions.

A student’s cost of attendance can be adjusted in certain circumstances. Each of the standard components above can potentially be increased if the student has excess expenses. These adjustments would be handled on a case-by-case basis using professional judgment. A student’s cost of attendance can also be increased for costs related to childcare, the purchase of a computer or software, or additional study abroad fees.


Sara Vancil
Assistant Director, Financial Aid & Scholarships
KU Visitor Center, 1502 Iowa St.

Approved by: 
Joan Weaver
Approved on: 
Friday, February 1, 2008
Effective on: 
Friday, February 1, 2008
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Cost of Attendance, COA, Budgets, Expenses
Change History: 
11/16/2017: Reviewed and updated housing section
12/20/2016: Reviewed and updated tuition section
09/09/2015: Reviewed and updated
08/04/2014: Reviewed and updated 
07/29/2013: Reviewed and updated
08/07/2012: Reviewed and updated 
08/19/2011: Reviewed and updated 
10/2010: Reviewed and updated 
06/2009 Reviewed and updated 
Financial Categories: 
Student Financial Aid
Tuition & Fees
Student Life Categories: 
Financial Assistance

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