April 25, 2023
Yesterday, The Hope Center at Temple University led 21 other organizations in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Education calling for new federal rules for "cost of attendance" (COA). Colleges and universities create COA estimates for the range of expenses students need to cover to attend higher education, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, housing, food, transportation, technology, and more. These estimates help establish a student's eligibility for financial aid. However, research has found that there is wide variation in the way that colleges create living cost estimates, and it can lead to significant underestimates compared to what students need to pay.
If students and families do not have a reliable COA, they may not receive enough financial aid to cover their expenses. When financial aid falls short, students often experience basic needs insecurity. A recent change in federal law permits the U.S. Department of Education to issue rules for COA. The coalition letter calls for new federal regulations to ensure colleges calculate COA using transparent and data-driven methods that cover the full range of student expenses.