Understanding Your Cost of Attendance

Understanding Your Cost of Attendance

Aside from tuition and fees costs, there may be additional expenses that you may incur over the course of the academic year while attending Teachers College. Please see below for some information regarding Cost of Attendance at Teachers College, direct and indirect expenses, as well as financial planning for future years.

Your Cost of Attendance (COA) at Teachers College

The Financial Aid Cost of Attendance (COA) is a set of estimated expenses that are used by the Office of Financial Aid to determine what a student is projected to need during the academic year, which includes tuition and school fees, books and supplies, as well as personal and living expenses. Depending on each student's admission terms, enrollment plans, as well as individual circumstances, these costs will vary.

Direct vs. Indirect Expenses

Given Teachers College’s diverse student population, your individual needs may differ and therefore affect your costs of attending TC. These costs may be differentiated between direct and indirect expenses. Direct expenses are typically charges that are directly assessed on your student account record through the Office of the Bursar, such as tuition charges, school fees, as well as on-campus housing. Indirect expenses, on the other hand, are costs incurred as a result of enrolling at TC but not directly paid to the college. These may include books and supplies, personal/living expenses, or any applicable off-campus room and board costs. Note that indirect expenses listed on your COA does not mean that you will owe the college when you begin or continue your studies.

What does the COA budget at TC include?

The COA budget at TC includes tuition and fees, books &  supplies, transportation, personal expenses, and living expenses. Additionally, students may also opt-in for health insurance billed through TC. Below is a breakdown of items factored into your budget.

2020-2021 Academic Year

Budget ItemsEstimated Annual Budgets*
Tuition and Fees: Varies based on enrollment
Books and Supplies**: Varies based on enrollment
Transportation: $1,143
Personal Expenses: $6,830
Living Expenses: $26,278
Columbia Health Plan/Insurance***: $4,564

* Estimated annual budgets are calculated based on a student enrolling across Fall and Spring semesters only over a nine month period of enrollment. Budget figures will fluctuate for students planning to attend for the Summer term.

** Budget for Books and Supplies is determined based on a student's enrollment at $50/credit hour. This figure will fluctuate based on a student's actual or anticipated enrollment per academic term. (IE: A student enrolling for half-time across Fall and Spring will have $50*12 credits =$600 budgeted for Books and Supplies.  A student enrolling for full-time across Fall and Spring will have $50*24 credits =$1200 budgeted for Books and Supplies.)

*** All students enrolled in 12 or more billable credits and/or living in the residence halls are required to have health insurance coverage (TC or external). All international students are required to have health insurance. Full-time students/those living on-campus are automatically enrolled in TC's basic health insurance but may be waived with proper proof of external coverage. Official costs as well as coverage periods should be discussed with the Office of Insurance and Immunization Records.

Your Federal Financial Aid Offer and COA

Students who are applying for federal financial aid through the FAFSA may receive a total federal aid offer up to the allowable COA determined by TC. This may include federal loans, work-study, scholarships as well as grants. The total amount of funding including federal and other sources of aid (ex: scholarships, fellowships, stipends etc) offered may not exceed the COA budget based on each student’s enrollment status. In addition, some aid programs (ex: work-study) may also take EFC, or your financial need into consideration in determining eligibility. All students, with the exception of some special cohort programs, which have alternative tuition structures, are provided with an initial federal aid offer based on half-time (6 billable credits) of enrollment.

With that in mind, students are encouraged to complete the repackaging process with the Office of Financial Aid to determine their student aid eligibility if they will be enrolled in more than, or less than the anticipated half-time (6 billable credits) enrollment. For example, students who enroll in higher amounts of coursework (ex: full-time) will typically have higher tuition costs, and students who are progressing in their degree program during the dissertation advisement stage may have lower tuition costs than those who enroll based on half-time (6 billable credits) of enrollment.

Additional Information

Student financial aid award eligibility may change based on any internal or external aid (Institutional Scholarships, third-party scholarship payment, Employer Tuition Exemption etc.) that are administered throughout the duration of the academic year.

Note: These guides are intended to help you budget for the academic year. Fall/Spring students are enrolled for a total of nine months, which is the number of months used to determine some of the numbers found in the budget(s). If you intend to enroll in only one term, or if you plan to enroll in the summer, contact our office to discuss your budget.

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