Great Advice for Parents 2020

WHEN COLLEGES SAY STAY HOME By Anna Helhoski, Cecilia Clark, Ryan Lane

Now that big-name colleges are announcing plans to go remote in the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic, others are expected to follow. How does that change the financial math? The answer can differ from school to school and depending on whether you are an undergrad, grad, veteran or international student.

Here’s how a switch to remote learning could affect your costs and financial aid.

Don’t expect a break on tuition

Colleges that aren’t fully opening campuses for fall 2020 or are planning a hybrid model (a split between in-person and remote learning) are generally not cutting tuition. Keep in mind, you’ll be earning the same credits for the courses you complete, even if you’re not getting the same college experience.

But tuition is just one of many expenses you encounter on campus.

Your school calculates those expenses — tuition and fees; books and supplies; room and board; transportation and personal expenses — in a single number known as total cost of attendance.

While tuition may not fall, your other expenses might

You may not be paying for meals and a dorm room on campus, but you’ll still eat and sleep.

And your school still needs an official total cost of attendance: It’s used to calculate financial aid, your family’s financial contribution and even how much you can borrow. Colleges that go remote this fall are factoring at-home living expenses into the cost of attendance. Including these expenses as part of the cost of attendance means you can get financial aid and loans to help cover the amount. At-home costs are typically calculated as less money than room and board.

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