Does Financial Aid Cover Room And Board?

Featured Stories

Filter By Categories

When researching the cost of college, most people focus on tuition rates. However, the total cost of college is based on all expenses including tuition, room and board, books and supplies, and even things like internet and transportation to get to and from your college housing to classes. In short, financial aid does cover the cost of room and board up to certain limits. Here’s what you need to know.


Financial  Aid Covers Room and Board (Up to Cost of Attendance)

Each academic year, every college and university that distributes federal financial aid publishes a cost of attendance list. This cost of attendance is an average of what it costs to attend the college for one year. Every college has a slightly different list, but most lists include tuition and fees, room and board, and books and supplies.


The University of Central Florida

Tuition and Fees

$22,478

Room and Board

$10,010

Books

$1,200

TOTAL

$33,688



Texas A&M University - College Station

 

Resident

Resident living with Parents

Non-Resident

Tuition & Fees

$10,252

$10,252

$36,442

Loan Fees

64

64

64

Housing & Meals

10,436

4,482

10,436

Books & Supplies

1,222

1,222

1,222

Travel

2,396

2,396

2,912

Personal Expenses

3,518

3,518

3,518

TOTAL

$27,888

$21,934

$54,594


The tables above show just how different the cost of attendance can be from one school to another. The cost of attendance at the University of Central Florida publishes one rate for room and board for all students, while the cost of attendance at Texas A&M lists different rates depending on the student’s living situation. This difference in rates is important because it ultimately affects the size of the financial aid reward.


Living On-Campus

If you live on-campus, the rules are a bit flexible. You can choose from any on-campus options, including single or shared dorms and meal plans. The cost will typically be covered by financial aid. In most cases, the university will work with you to find an affordable option. At the beginning of each semester, the university will receive your financial aid and use it to pay tuition and fees and room and board. Any additional amount left over will be sent to you via check to purchase books and other necessities published in the cost of attendance. For example, a small amount for personal funds is typically included in the cost of attendance.


Living Off-Campus

If you live off-campus, your financial aid is processed differently. The college or university that you attend will receive your financial aid award. The award will first be applied to tuition and fees. The remaining balance will be sent to you via check to cover housing, food, books, and other expenses. Since you are living off-campus, you can also use the funding to pay for utilities, groceries, and other household costs, such as toilet paper, which would usually be covered if you lived on-campus.


When choosing an apartment off-campus, it’s important to remember to find something within the budgeted cost of attendance. Some universities publish a separate cost of attendance for students living off-campus, which is usually less than the budget for students living on-campus. You can only use your financial aid up to the amount specified in the cost of attendance. For example, if you want to rent an off-campus apartment for $15,000 per year, and your financial aid only covers $10,000 per year, you’ll have to pay the remainder out of pocket.


Resources to Understand Living Expenses

If you are unsure of the cost of attendance or what your financial aid will cover, there are two resources on campus. The first place is the financial aid office, which can clarify the allowance you will receive for on-campus or off-campus room and board fees. The second place to go for assistance is the housing assistance office, which can help with finding affordable living options.

Edmit's advice helps you to be better off after graduation.

Merit and financial aid estimates based on your student profile

Earnings estimates and financial scores for your college and major

Recommendations to save thousands on college

I'm ready

Sign up for updates

Popular Tags

Financial Aid and Scholarships* Cost of College* paying for college financial aid FAFSA Student Loans* grants and scholarships Saving for College* federal student loans college tuition 529 plan cost of attendance expected family contribution Salary and Career* college financial planning financial aid award private student loans taxes college savings plan room and board on-campus housing merit scholarships budgeting for college college expenses federal financial aid merit-based financial aid private universities public universities edmit hidden gems college costs edmit team parent PLUS loan college applications living expenses CSS profile education expenses financial need income application fees financial aid appeal off-campus housing career choosing a college choosing a major college majors loan forgiveness affordable college degree programs loan repayment repayment plans student loan assistance student loan debt work-study application fee waivers college search coronavirus edmit scholarship institutional aid net price SAT college visits in-state tuition prepaid tuition plans private scholarships ACT budget free tuition international students internships need-based financial aid need-blind colleges qualified higher education expenses retirement savings southern colleges standardized testing tuition discount tuition guarantee tuition payment plans 401k UGMA UTMA applying to college college financial health college ranking systems college spending college transfers credit score discretionary income distance learning education savings accounts fees financial literacy full ride scholarship gap year grants health insurance options investment ivy league schools liberal arts degree meal plans midwestern colleges need-aware colleges out-of-state tuition saving school-based scholarships state aid tuition increases western colleges 568 presidents group Inversant MEFA asset protection allowance best price campus life college advisor college credits college deposit college viability community college concurrent enrollment cost by region cost by state crowdfunding dorms early decision educational expenses esports fee waivers financial wellness for-profit universities fraternities and sororities full tuition graduate school home equity loan income share agreements line of credit lists medical expenses medical school military benefits net price calculators new england colleges non-profit universities online learning online tuition out-of-state students percent need met private college consultant remote learning small business state schools student bank accounts student organizations subsidized loans title IV schools travel expenses tuition decreases tuition insurance tuition reciprocity undocumented students unsubsidized loans