When you receive the bill from the college, you will see that college bills are typically based on each semester (or enrollment period); students will receive a bill prior to the start of each enrollment period. Remember that not all college expenses are billed directly. Tuition, fees, and room and board (if arranged through the college) are billed directly to the student. However, additional expenses such as books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses are not billed to the student, but should be carefully planned for, as well as any additional monthly expenses or necessary related purchases. The Cost of Attendance (COA) is a solid reference point for accounting for college expenses, and should be used as the basis of any budgeting exercise. By taking the Cost of Attendance (COA) figures from the college and adding any additional student-specific expenses, you should have a solid number to use as a guide.
It can be tricky for a family to plan for all college expenses since some expenses are direct billed from the college (tuition and fees and sometimes room and board) and some need to be planned for by the family (books, personal, transportation, etc). Some expenses are paid for upfront and some accumulate over the course of the enrollment period. To help families get a handle on how to figure out college costs for a specific enrollment period, a detailed SAMPLE CASE STUDY on figuring out college costs is included. It is hypothetical data, but a good example of things that a family needs to think about when planning for college costs. Review the included case study and then develop your own spreadsheet, using similar data elements, so that you can plan accordingly for the academic year to come.
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More template and sample cases are included in Financial Aid Sense for your reading pleasure! Financial Aid Sense has been newly updated and is a vital read for anyone needing to financing a college education.