What is the Cost of Attendance?
As defined by Congress, the Cost of Attendance is an estimate of the cost to attend a particular school for one academic year. The Cost of Attendance (budget) includes tuition and fees; on-campus room and board (or a housing and food allowance for off-campus students); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and if applicable, dependent care. It can also include other expenses like an allowance for the rental or purchase of a personal computer, costs related to a disability, or costs for eligible study-abroad programs.
Where can I find the Cost of Attendance?
The Cost of Attendance is determined, specifically for your situation, by the school you are attending, and may be obtained from the school’s financial aid office. The financial aid office will send you an Award Letter indicating the Cost of Attendance and additional financial aid which could include scholarships, grants, institutional aid and federal loans.
What is a Private Education Loan Self Certification?
During the application process, you will be required to complete and certify a Private Education Loan Self Certification. On this certification, you will be asked to calculate how much you need to borrow in private loans based upon the Cost of Attendance and other financial aid that you have been awarded. This is used to help promote awareness of the amount you are borrowing, as well as to prevent borrowers from borrowing more than what is needed. You should use your Award Letter from your school, as well as other information you can obtain from your financial aid portal, if possible, in completing this certification.
What is the School Certification Process?
In addition to the Private Education Loan Self-Certification, the school will certify certain information related to your enrollment. We will obtain the school certification from the school as a part of the application process. The school you are attending must certify that:
- the loan amount does not exceed the cost of attendance minus other financial aid received,
- the loan period which the loan covers,
- your enrollment status,
- your grade level,
- your expected graduation date,
- the disbursement dates, and
- the individual disbursement amounts if the loan has multiple disbursement dates.
What happens if a school certifies an amount which differs from the requested loan amount?
Sometimes the school may certify an amount that is different than the loan amount that you request. If the amount the school certifies is higher than the amount you request, the certification will cover the lower amount that you have requested and the loan will be approved for the lower amount that you requested.
If the school certifies an amount less than the amount you have requested, but is within the program limits, the loan amount will be adjusted to match the amount the school certifies. This adjustment will be evident when you receive your Final Approval Disclosure as part of the loan process.
If the school certifies an amount less then the program minimum ($1,000), the loan will be denied.