Estimate Costs & Aid
Understanding Your Estimated Cost of Attendance
Here are some common questions about estimated cost of attendance and bills:
- Is My Cost of Attendance What I Will Owe?
- What May Be Included in the Estimated Cost of Attendance?
- What Can Impact Estimated Cost of Attendance?
- Where Can I Find My Estimated Cost of Attendance?
- Where Can I Find My Bill or Balance Due?
- What Is the Difference Between Estimated Cost of Attendance and a Bill?
- Can I Use My Estimated Cost of Attendance to Estimate My Out-of-Pocket Expense?
Is My Cost of Attendance What I Will Owe?
No! Your "cost of attendance" or "budget" for financial aid puposes is the estimated total amount it may cost a student to pursue their degree for the fall and spring parts of the academic year (or for each semester). Institutions are required to provide a fuller picture of what it may cost students to pursue their degree, not just what they will owe to the institution, for a few reasons. First, it helps students plan for other expenses, such as books, that may not be part of their student bill. Second, it helps us determine their cost and financial need for educational expenses so we can fully determine their aid eligibility.
A student's cost of attendance is composed of all educational expenses that can be included for financial aid purposes that a student may accrue while pursuing their education for the semester and/or year. A student's financial aid cannot exceed their cost of attendance.
- This is not necessarily the actual amount you will pay the institution.
- The estimated cost is made up of both direct and indirect costs.
- Students are encouraged to develop their own budget based on the provided estimates.
- Estimated cost of attendance is usually based on anticipated full-time enrollment in courses eligible for federal aid (with the exception of a few graduate programs that traditionally have half-time enrollment). Should a student not enroll full-time, their cost of attendance and financial aid may be adjusted accordingly to reflect their cost and aid eligibility based on their actual enrollment.
What May Be Included in the Estimated Cost of Attendance?
The estimated cost of attendance includes direct costs (costs the student would need to pay WVU) and indirect costs (other costs a student may have while pursuing their education that are not charged by the institution).
If you are trying to determine how much your bill may be, focus on direct costs. If you are trying to determine how much your total educational expenses may be - including those you may have that are not billed by the University- use both direct and indirect costs.
Examples of Possible Direct Costs:
- University tuition
- University fees
- College tuition (based on the student's program of study and level)
- Room and meals (if living on-campus)
- Student health insurance
- Materials and instruments
Examples of Possible Indirect Costs:
- Books and supplies
- Personal expenses
- Transportation costs (car payments cannot be included)
- Room and meals (if living off-campus)
What Can Impact Estimated Cost of Attendance?
Various elements can impact a student's estimated cost of attendance such as:
- Program of study (Engineering, Biology, Accounting, etc.)
- Degree the student is pursuing (associate, bachelor, etc.)
- Hours enrolled
- Level (undergraduate, graduate, professional)
- Residency (charged tuition/fees as a resident of West Virginia or non-resident of the state) or if the student qualifies for a reduced tuition program
- Living at home/with parents, on campus, or off campus
- Campus (Morgantown, Beckley, Keyser, etc.)
Where Can I Find My Estimated Cost of Attendance?
Students who have been offered financial aid can find their estimated cost of attendance through their WVU Portal. Please remember this is not your bill. This is your estimated cost for financial aid purposes.
- Go to your WVU Portal
- Enter your login credentials (WVU username and password)
- Click on "Financial Aid Information"
- Click on "Award"
- Click on "Award by Aid Year"
- Select the appropriate aid year (Example: Fall 2021, Spring and/or Summer 2022 would be the 2021-2022 aid year)
- Click on the "Award Overview" tab
- Both direct and indirect costs are listed under the Cost of Attendance table
Where Can I Find My Bill or Balance Due?
Charges usually are available online through the WVU Portal for students to review in early July for the fall semester and mid-November for the spring semester.
Students who have a balance due after payments and financial aid are also sent billing notifications to their MIX email via their WVU Portal.
What Is the Difference Between Estimated Cost of Attendance and a Bill?
A bill is composed of institutional charges. This can include things like tuition, fees, room, meals, new student ID fees, library fees, materials, instruments, and student health insurance. The bill or balance due is what the student must pay.
A student's estimated cost of attendance is composed of all educational expenses that can be included for financial aid purposes. These are expenses a student may accrue while pursuing their education for the semester and/or year. Since a student's financial aid cannot exceed their cost of attendance, this gives an idea of the maximum amount of financial aid - including loans - that a student could potentially receive if eligible.
This is particularly important when a student wants to take out financial aid - including loans - to cover indirect costs. For example, a student may have grants, scholarships, and loans that cover their full cost of attendance. That financial aid will disburse to cover direct costs (that are billed), then whatever is remaining is refunded to the student to use for indirect costs - such as books or room and meals if living off-campus.
Can I Use My Estimated Cost of Attendance to Estimate My Out-of-Pocket Expense?
Yes you can! Since bills are not available until July (fall) or November (spring), it is a good idea to use your estimated cost of attendance to determine what your estimated bill may be or what your estimated overall cost of attendance could be. This will help you determine how much will be due each semester if you want to sign up early for the monthly payment plan or plan ahead for the bill due date. It will also help you determine how much you may need to apply for should you choose to borrow loans.
- Review your estimated cost of attendance and develop your own budget for fall/spring. If trying to estimate your bill, only look at direct costs.
- Subtract any grants, scholarships, and waivers you accept.
- Subtract any external scholarships or sponsorships you receive from third-parties (outside of the University).
- The remaining balance will be your out-of-pocket expenses. You may consider accepting federal loans or exploring other funding options.
Estimate Costs and/or Financial Aid
If you have not received a financial aid or scholarship offer, your estimated cost of attendance may not be available. Please use the resources available here to estimate your costs and/or financial aid.
If you are in a program under the Health Sciences Center or College of Law, download the spreadsheet available here for estimated costs.
There are multiple options to estimate direct costs only or your full cost of attendance.
Estimate direct cost only:
- Use the Tuition Calculator to estimate tuition (includes tuition/fee calculation by credit hour).
- Use the Cost & Resource Planner for your campus to estimate direct costs including on-campus living expenses and/or student health insurance
- If you are a non-resident of West Virginia, see the Reduced Tuition section of the Admissions Cost and Aid website to see if you qualify for reduced tuition.
Estimate full cost of attendance (both direct and indirect costs):
- Incoming first-time freshmen can calculate estimated cost of attendance and estimated financial aid with the Net Price Calculator.
- Download the spreadsheet for the full costs of attendance for various programs and levels. Click here to download the full spreadsheet.