Understanding College Cost, Financial Aid Package & Student Budget

Evaluate College Cost & Financial Aid Packages

One of the most important factors when selecting a college is whether the institution will meet your educational needs. Additionally, you and your family must consider the cost to attend college when deciding where to enroll.

Cost of Attendance (COA)

When planning for college, you need to review the Cost of Attendance (COA), which includes tuition and fees, housing (room and board), transportation, books, supplies, and personal expenses. If you plan to live at home, the estimated cost for attending CUNY full-time for nine months includes tuition and fees plus approximately $10,500 for all other costs. If you plan to live away from home, the estimated cost is approximately $24,500.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount you and your family can reasonably contribute toward yearly educational costs based on the information you supply on your FAFSA. Factors such as your family's income, number in household, certain assets, taxes paid, and the number of family members attending college are used to compute your EFC.

Your EFC is used to determine the amount of federal financial aid you may qualify for, such as Pell, Federal Work-Study, and subsidized federal loans. In addition, the EFC can be used to determine your eligibility for various college scholarships. For federal financial aid, your EFC is calculated the same way for every college.

For more information on EFC please visit: Expected Family Contribution – The City University of New York (cuny.edu)

Financial Need

Financial need is the difference between the Cost of Attendance and your Expected Family Contribution.

COA-EFC = Financial Need

CUNY Net Price Calculator

To help determine the financial aid you may receive, a Net Price Calculator is available on the CUNY website. This tool calculates an estimated financial aid award package along with an estimated cost of tuition and fees. The Net Price Calculator also helps compare costs at CUNY to other institutions to determine which colleges are most affordable for you.

Financial Aid Package

Based on your financial need, CUNY constructs a financial aid package for you. The financial aid package may include various types of financial aid to help cover all or part of your college costs. If you have financial need, you may be eligible for grants, work-study and subsidized loans.

Student Budgets

The cost of your education includes more than tuition.

The cost of your education, whether it is at CUNY or any other college, includes more than tuition. When we calculate your eligibility for financial aid, we assign you a "Cost of Attendance Budget." This budget includes the cost of books, supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses.

Below are the estimated nine-month budget for variable costs (in addition to tuition and fees) for students living at home and students living away from home.

Living At Home Living Away From Home
$ 1,364 Books and Supplies $ 1,364
$ 1,122 Transportation $ 1,122
$ 1,360 Lunch $ 1,360
$ 1,883 Personal Expense $ 4,782
$ 4,700 Room and Board -
- Housing $ 14,067
- Food at Home $ 2,492
$ 10,429 Total Variable Cost $ 25,187
Living At Home Living Away From Home
$ 1,500 Books and Supplies $ 1500
$ 1,188 Transportation $ 1,188
$ 1,700 Lunch $ 1,700
$ 1,928 Personal Expenses $ 2,646
- Medical Expenses $ 2,381
$ 5,080 Living Expenses -
- Housing $ 17,604
- Food at Home $ 2,484
$ 11,396 Total Variable Cost $ 29,503

*Note: Must add tuition and fees to total variable cost to calculate full Cost of Attendance.

Helpful Links:

Estimate Your Federal Student Aid
TAP Award Estimator

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