Financial Aid Cost of Attendance
Financial planning is a major factor in making a successful transition into a Health Profession or Graduate program. The “Cost of Attendance”, sometimes referred to as “Student Budgets”, is designed to provide students with an accurate projection of reasonable educational costs. The Student Financial Aid Office computes a total “Cost of Attendance” figure or “Budget” based on the required direct or indirect educational expenses which make it possible for a student to attend college. The COA may only include expenses that are incurred during the period of enrollment. A periodic review is performed to ensure that the student budgets are comprehensive and adequate. The responsibility for the development and maintenance of the student COA resides with the Financial Aid Administrator.
There are three basic COA components that apply to all Federal Student Aid programs: Tuition and fees, books/supplies, room and board. However, federal regulations allows for the inclusion of other direct or indirect educational expenses on a case-by-case basis. A general description has been provided for each primary COA component.
- Tuition and Fees
- Books, Educational Supplies, and Diagnostic Equipment
- Room and Board
- Educational Student Loan Fee
- Residency Interviews
Tuition and Fees
The COA may include tuition and fees normally assessed all students carrying the same academic workload as determined by the institution. Tuition charges are allowed in a COA if the coursework is credited toward the student’s degree or educational program. Student budgets and financial aid awards may be adjusted if a change occurs in the amount of tuition and fees charged to a student after an award has been made and/or disbursed. In order to be included in the COA, fees must be required for the student’s course of study or be mandatory of all students as an enrollment requirement.
Books, Educational Supplies, and Diagnostic Equipment
An allowance for books and supplies in the COA provides for the average cost of educational materials related to the student’s course of study. An average allowance for diagnostic equipment is allowed for those programs which require the equipment. The diagnostic equipment allowance is automatically added to the student’s COA for the relevant curriculum year.
Room and Board (Living Allowance)
The Living Allowance component of the COA is constructed based on reasonable average expenses for a single student’s housing and meals. It is also based on the actual months of enrollment and cannot cover months of non-enrollment, such as the time period between academic years. The Living Allowance is adjusted for students living at home with parents and for students enrolled less-than half-time. Allowances for dependents of independent students are not included in the student’s COA.
Fourth-year Medical students can request a Cost of Attendance (budget) adjustment to allow for cost related to residency interviews. Students can request a standard amount by submitting the 4th Year Residency Interview Allowance Form and documentation providing proof of interviews. An increase in the standard student budget does not increase the annual or aggregate limits on the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Most students seeking additional funds will have already reached their aid year limit in Federal Direct Stafford funding and will therefore need to borrow through an additional source such as the Graduate Plus Loan program.
Medical Insurance is required for all LSU Health Shreveport students. Therefore, the cost is an allowable expense and can be added to the COA. The Medical Insurance allowance cannot include the premiums for dependents or spouses. Effective 2013-2014: The Financial Aid Office will no longer automatically add the Medical Insurance Allowance to student budgets based on the assumption that students are purchasing individual policies. Students must now provide proof that they have purchased a policy before the cost will be added. Students can request assistance for Medical Insurance by completing the LSU Health Shreveport Medical Insurance Cost Form.
The COA may include the reasonable cost for the documented rental or purchase of a personal computer for students enrolled at least half-time. The computer does not have to be required by the student’s program of study. This expense is allowed only once during the student’s enrollment at LSU Health Shreveport, even if the student has sat out of the curriculum for an extended period of time, or must repeat one or more years of the curriculum.
- Allied Health Profession and Graduate Studies students must formally request a COA increase for the purchase of a computer before the allowance can be included. Students can request assistance for a computer purchase by completing the LSU Health Shreveport Computer Purchase Form.
- The School of Medicine requires all 1st year students to purchase a laptop computer through LSU Health Shreveport. As a result, the computer cost is automatically added to the COA for medical students. However, the computer allowance will be removed from the COA if a medical student receives an approved computer purchase waiver from the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. Medical students can request reimbursement for the purchase of a computer bought outside the institution. The purchase must have occurred after acceptance into the School of Medicine.
Dependent Child Care
The dependent child care allowance is based on the estimated expenses incurred for child care. Child care does not cover periods of non-enrollment. In order to include the allowance, the student must document: 1) proof of a legal dependent that is included in the student’s household, 2) care is required in order for the student to attend school, and 3) the student incurred or will incur child care expenses. After-school child care is allowed for children less than age 12. All-day child care is allowed for non-school age children. Students requesting an allowance for dependent child care must complete and submit the LSU Health Shreveport Childcare Expense Form to the Student Financial Aid Office.
Some academic programs require students to take a licensing exam prior to the completion of their academic program. The cost of those exams are automatically added to the students COA for the relevant curriculum year. This cost is allowed once during the student’s enrollment, per federal regulations.