Section 5: Financial Aid: Financial Aid Cost of Attendance (COA)

One of the essential factors in determining a student’s eligibility for Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs such as Pell Grants, Direct Loans, and TEACH Grants is the Cost of Attendance (COA). This is an estimate of the total educational expenses for an academic year. At Walden University, this information is available for students to review on their myFinAid page, along with their financial aid offer.

The COA at Walden University includes various components such as tuition, program fees, books, course materials, supplies, equipment, living expenses (including housing, food, transportation, and personal expenses), and direct loan fees. These components are reviewed annually to ensure they reflect current institutional information and economic data.

Additionally, certain allowable charges can be added to the COA within predefined caps, provided that students supply the necessary documentation. These charges may include expenses such as computer purchases, program-required residency and field experience fees, dependent care expenses, disability-related educational expenses, and doctoral research and editing costs. However, it’s important for students to borrow only what they genuinely need for educational purposes, as the FSA program funds available often exceed tuition and fees.

Special circumstances and standard COA adjustments play a crucial role in ensuring that students receive fair and appropriate financial aid packages. The U.S. Department of Education mandates that universities establish a Title IV COA that is reasonable and consistently applied to all students. This ensures that financial aid is distributed based on standardized allowable costs. At Walden University, the housing and food components of the COA are based on national data, rather than individualized or regionalized data, to ensure equal treatment for all students.

In cases where a student’s circumstances have significantly changed since enrolling, they may request adjustments to their COA. This requires supporting documentation, such as lease agreements, unemployment documentation, or other relevant third-party documents. However, it’s important to note that the COA cannot be adjusted for certain expenses, such as moving costs or legal bills. Students seeking adjustments should use the Charlotte Bot or contact Financial Services.

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