Cost of Attendance and the Expected Family Contribution

Cost of Attendance (COA or budget) represents a reasonable estimate of the cost of attending the university for a 9 month academic year (fall and spring semesters). The Financial Aid Office determines student budgets every year as a basis for awarding financial aid funds. The student's budget includes direct costs: tuition, fees, room, and board); and indirect costs: allowances for books, supplies, transportation, and personal/miscellaneous expenses. Direct costs are charges for which the student will be billed directly by Stevenson. Indirect charges are costs incurred as a result of going to college, but for which a student is not necessarily billed. Actual charges vary depending on the choice of program, enrollment, and living arrangements (for example, apartment vs. double occupancy). An Estimated Cost of Attendance is posted on the Financial Aid website. Go to and select the link for Policies and Procedures and then select "How Your Financial Need is Determined/Cost of Attendance." The chart is regularly updated to reflect any changes.

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is an amount that the student and his/her family is expected to pay toward the cost of attendance; it is not the bill, is not the amount of federal aid the student will receive, and is not the amount the student will pay. It is a number used by the University to calculate how much financial aid a student is eligible to receive.

The EFC is derived from a formula created by the federal government and is calculated based on the information provided on the student's FAFSA. A family's taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits all could be considered in the formula. The family size and the number of family members who will attend college during the year are also considered.