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Budget Review

General Information

Acceptable Expenses and Required Documentation

Items NOT eligible for Cost of Attendance Increases

General Information

The cost of attendance (COA) represents a realistic estimate of modest costs associated with attending one of West Virginia University’s campuses. If your actual expenses are greater than those represented in the standard cost of attendance, you can submit a Budget Review Form. If approved, you may have additional loan and/or outside scholarship eligibility, but you will not, in most situations, receive additional institutional scholarship or grant assistance. Requests for housing, food and personal, and computer costs are generally only approved one time.

Please note that cost of attendance is calculated for an academic year (9 months) not for a full calendar year (12 months).

Students can contact the WVU Hub to discuss their need for a budget appeal.

The following items may be considered for appeal:

If you are eligible for a budget appeal, a WVU Hub staff member will add a Budget Review Form to the student's StudentForms account. Students can complete and submit their budget appeal request by following the steps listed below.

  1. Mark the semester(s) and budget expenses to be reviewed
  2. Include your name, WVU ID number, sign, and date the request
  3. If you have multiple receipts to submit with your appeal, complete page 3 of the appeal form to itemize allowable expenses and submit with your receipts. Only educational expenses may be considered. Please include a full description of each item, not abbreviated descriptions found on receipts.
  4. Provide supporting documentation for the expenses. Supporting documentation varies. More information is available in the Acceptable Expenses and Required Documentation section.

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Acceptable Expenses and Required Documentation

Computer Purchase

Limited to a one-time increase for the purchase of a computer up to $1,500 (once for undergraduate students and once for a Graduate or Professional student). The cost of the computer is the only item covered unless documentation on college letterhead is received from a college representative indicating that a special software is required for a course or program for all students in the course or program. Letters must be written on college letterhead and signed to be considered.

Documentation must include the price and description of the computer. You may submit an invoice for the computer purchase or a detailed printout of the computer you plan to purchase. Requests for gaming computer will not accepted.

If your major requires the purchase of a computer and is already included in the cost of attendance, your request will be denied. Majors include Law, CRNA, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Dental Hygiene, Medicine, Pathology Assistant, Physician’s Assistant, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy.

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Modest living expenses for rent/mortgage, utilities, and food for the student will be considered. Acceptable documentation includes:

  • Signed full copy of the lease agreement that includes the term(s) for which the budget appeal covers. If there are multiple people on the lease, only the requestor of the budget appeal may be considered for an increase. Rent deposits and pet deposits are not considered in the budget appeal.
  • Paid mortgage statement.
  • The previous two months of utilities bills that occur during the period in which the student’s lease is in effect. Utility bills must be from the same physical address as the lease. For example, if the student’s lease is from May 2023 through April 2024, at least two months of utility bills occurring between May 2023 through April 2024 are acceptable. Students may also contact the utility company to ask for the average monthly cost for their residence, which may also be used for documentation. If appealing for utility bills only, please provide a full copy of the lease or paid mortgage statement. Receipts for utility payments must be in the student's name.

The budget appeal process will not take into account resources in excess of a typical student living. For example, if a student is the only name on the lease agreement for a two bedroom/two bathroom apartment, we will still only consider an increase for the cost of a one bedroom/one bathroom apartment. If more than one household is being requested for an increase, we will only consider a COA increase for one household.

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Food and Personal

Modest expenses incurred from food and personal items will be considered for the budget appeal. Personal items include clothing, toiletries, and personal hygiene products. 

Acceptable documentation includes:

  • The two most recent months of itemized grocery receipts.
  • Receipts from restaurants and clothing stores
  • Debit or credit card statements showing purchase of food or personal items

Alcohol, tobacco, items purchased for animals not medically documented as service or emotional support, and items purchased with SNAP benefits will not be considered.

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Required Books and Supplies

Cost for required books and supplies may be appealed if it is more than what is allotted in your cost of attendance.

Acceptable documentation includes:

  • Receipts for required books and supplies.

Staff will review the student’s course schedule and determine the required textbooks for the courses on the WVU Barnes and Noble website. Books and supplies must be for degree-pursuant courses.

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Transportation includes commuting to and from campus or activities required by the University, travel to and from home for scheduled University breaks, and travel to and from work. Acceptable expenses include gasoline, insurance, car repairs, parking and required travel for major (such as student teaching, clerkships, rotations, etc.). Monthly car payments cannot be included.

Acceptable documentation includes:

  • Car registration
  • At least two months of gas receipts
  • Parking
  • Car repair and car insurance receipts incurred during the time period for which the budget appeal is submitted

If required to travel for your major or for work, documentation of distance traveled and need for the travel must be provided.

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Dependent Care

For a student with dependents, an allowance for costs expected to be incurred for dependent care can be reviewed. This covers care during periods that include class time, study time, field work, internships, and commuting time for the student. The amount of the allowance should be based on the number and age of such dependents and should not exceed reasonable cost in the community for the type of care provided.

Acceptable documentation includes:

  • Contracts, letters, and/or invoices from care providers for the time period that classes are in session

Documentation should include the amount, timeframe, and dates of subsidy for childcare provided from a government or private entity.

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Other educational expenses a student must pay during an academic year can be reviewed for an increase in cost of attendance. Examples of these expenses may include, but are not limited to:

Emergency or Unexpected Medical and Dental Expenses

WVU generally does not consider cost of attendance increases for medical and dental expenses as there is already an allowance built into the standard cost. Typically, medical and dental expenses are part of the need-analysis calculation on the FAFSA. In the event a student has an urgent emergency circumstance related to a medical or dental expense, the student should contact the WVU Hub to determine if the costs can be considered and what documentation is required. WVU will not increase the COA for co-pays or any portion of an elective procedure. We will only consider the amount not covered by insurance for a COA increase if the student has insurance. Co-pays will not be considered.

Disability-Related Expenses

Students with disability-related expenses may contact WVU Hub to have such expenses considered. Disability-related expenses include but are not limited to personal assistance, equipment, and supplies. WVU may potentially include disability expenses in the COA that are not provided by other assisting agencies and may consult with the WVU Accessibility Services and/or other sources to confirm the average cost of such expenses. Documentation of actual expenses are required. For more information on accessibility accommodations, please refer to the WVU Accessibility Services website.

Required Musical Instruments

One-time purchase of a required instrument that directly relates to the student’s course of study.

Acceptable documentation includes:

  • Signed letter on WVU department letterhead explaining the student’s need to purchase and how it applies to the course of study
  • Receipt for the purchase of the instrument, or two estimates of the cost of the instrument.

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Items NOT Eligible for Cost of Attendance Increases

  • Auto purchase or payments.
  • Credit card or other consumer debt payments.
  • Alcohol, tobacco, items purchased for animals not medically documented as service or emotional support and items purchased with SNAP benefits.
  • Housing security or pet deposits.
  • Costs incurred outside of a semester when the student was not enrolled.
  • Costs incurred by a family member or other person, including a spouse or roommate's portion of rent, mortgage, or day care.
  • Child support and other such childcare expenses (other than day care).
  • Childcare subsidized by government or private entity.
  • Legal fees, bail, traffic tickets, parking tickets, or fines.
  • Veterinary costs (unless for a service animal).
  • Elective medical or dental procedures.

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