X

College & Career Training in Alaska

16Jun

Cost of Attendance, Online Classes, Living with Parents, and Changing Plans

Still thinking of continuing your education online or virtually?  Something to think about is your Cost of Attendance (COA) and whether or not it has changed for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.  You may recall a previous blog called Net Cost: Beyond the Sticker Price in Schools, where we covered the basics of COA.    However, things may have changed a bit since you filed your FAFSA. Three things to review are the following:

Tuition: One of the biggest costs, by far, to attend college or training is tuition. This is one thing to be watching in the up-coming weeks.  Is your institution going to change their tuition price structures for online only courses?  Is it going to be different than your traditional resident or non-resident rates?  Some institutions have already reduced or had no tuition rate increases for 2020-2021. 

Fees: Pre-COVID-19, you could expect to see quite a few fees, which are regulated by the institution, various academic departments, and student groups.  Fees are also collected for health centers, athletics, technology, labs, and other services.  However, if you’re planning on studying online, and never step foot on campus, those fees may be cancelled.  Before the pandemic, I would say without a doubt that you would have to pay them.  However, we are in uncharted territory, and the institution you are planning to study at, or are currently enrolled at, may treat the 2020-2021 academic year a little differently.   They may administer more technology fees associated with distance learning compared to in person user fees.  On the flip side, they may drop some fees as you may not be utilizing that service.

Housing Plans: After selecting your institutions on your FAFSA, they ask you about your housing plans: on campus, off campus, or with parent.  How you answer that question could impact your financial aid award.  Institutions know that if you live on campus (dorms or residence halls) or off campus, you will have an added cost for housing and living expenses. Dorm rates are generally posted on the college website and your school’s financial aid office uses the local housing market to determine the cost for living off campus. Those rates are then included into the COA.  If you are living at home and marked “with parents” on your FAFSA housing plans, your financial aid eligibility may be altered by your financial aid office because they will assume your cost of living is zero. If your parents plan to charge you rent, or if you will feel like helping out financially for groceries, it’s a good idea to mark “off-campus” on your FAFSA housing plans.

If you need any assistance with navigating the college process and/or developing a plan for your postsecondary endeavors, contact the ACPE Success Center for free assistance!

About the Author

Tyler Eggen

Tyler Eggen

Tyler is Alaskan born and educated, with over a decade of experience in higher education & student affairs.  When he is not serving the next generation of postsecondary education students, he enjoys spending time outdoors while hunting and fishing.

Related

Career & Technical Enrollment Checklist

Career & Technical Enrollment Checklist

When it comes to planning, having a checklist can be very helpful – you can plan accordingly and th...

Read More >
If you haven’t attended new student orientation, here are the five reasons to!

If you haven’t attended new student orientation, here are the five reasons to!

If you have applied to a university or program, you may find that they recommend attending new stude...

Read More >
Where is it?

Where is it?

In a locker, in a desk? Maybe my car? Or backpack? Where did I leave the information for that sch...

Read More >
What to Consider When Taking Out Student Loans

What to Consider When Taking Out Student Loans

If you filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), odds are you will be receivi...

Read More >
One Big Reason to Make Loan Payments In School: Why pay when you don’t have to? To save money!

One Big Reason to Make Loan Payments In School: Why pay when you don’t have to? To save money!

If loans are part of your plan for college or career training, the first way to save is to do your r...

Read More >
High School Apprenticeship – A Foundation for Success

High School Apprenticeship – A Foundation for Success

How can you better prepare yourself for a comfortable, financially stable life? What can you do to h...

Read More >