Cost of Attendance (a.k.a Student Budget) Definition:
The Cost of Attendance (COA) is also known as the student “budget,” and is determined by the main campus Berkeley Financial Aid & Scholarships office. The estimated COA includes tuition, fees, and other living expenses and is used in calculating financial aid packages. Students can view the estimated COA under the “My Finances” tab in CalCentral. An overaward may exist when a student’s total financial aid awards exceed the cost of attendance. In some but not all cases, financial aid will be reduced to resolve the overaward.
What if the Cost of Attendance doesn’t reflect a student’s actual costs?
Students can consider applying for a COA Adjustment (a.k.a an increase to their COA). A Cost of Attendance Adjustment Request (COAAR) is a process that allows students to ask for adjustments in the amount of financial aid they might be offered by increasing the individual estimated COA. For example, if a student is paying rent and utilities higher than the average posted on the standard COA, a COAAR may be appropriate. Increases to the Cost of Attendance, if approved, will typically only result in additional loan eligibility.
Federal regulations prohibit the Financial Aid Office from providing Title IV funds to students for covering the following expenses, therefore these expenses cannot be included in the COA.
- automobile payments, repairs and insurance
- bar review courses
- consumer debt (e.g., credit card payments, etc.)
- interview costs
- Complete the screening form here: At the end of the screening, you will be provided instructions as well as access to the online COAAR application.
- Once you submit the online COAAR application (along with it’s supporting documents), please notify the Financial Aid Office to ensure the quickest processing. Otherwise, we will not immediately be notified by the main campus systems.
Review time frame:
The review process can take up to 5-7 business days. If additional documentation is required or there is conflicting/unclear information that must be addressed, the review process may take longer. Please ensure your statements clearly explain the documentation you are submitting and that your screenshots are pasted on a word/pdf document.
See Forms page