Syracuse University

Bursar Charges vs Cost of Attendance

How does Undergraduate Financial Aid work in relation to my Bursar bill?

Bursar Charges vs Cost of Attendance

Generally, the Bursar is going to charge you for three things: tuition, fees, and campus room/board (dorm & meal plan).

When determining how much financial assistance you might need, the Financial Aid office looks at a bigger picture. We take into consideration how much it's going to cost the average student to live for the academic year while attending school.  You may have seen the term before - we call it your "Cost of Attendance."  So in addition to the tuition, fees, & room/board charges (aka "billable costs"), we also estimate how much you'll be paying for books & supplies, travel, and general living expenses (aka "non-billable costs...meaning they don't show up on your bill). For these estimates, we use general averages by school/college.  So you'll notice that your Cost of Attendance is much larger than your Bursar charges.

Financial Aid calculation

We calculate the amount of financial aid you'll need by taking your Cost of Attendance (how much you'll be paying to live for the academic year) and subtract out your Estimated Family Contribution (the amount that your family has been calculated to be able to contribute, based on the information you provided on your FAFSA & CSS PROFILE). The remaining amount is what we try to cover with financial aid.  This amount is then split evenly – half for the fall term and half for the spring term.

Now back to your bill...

Provided that you've submitted all documents necessary (promissory notes, etc.),  your financial aid will appear on your bill as "anticipated financial aid", which means that it isn't on your Bursar account yet, but is being used already to reduce your charges – in anticipation of it showing up.  Around the time classes begin for the semester almost all of your financial aid is transferred to your Bursar account. The exception is Federal Work-Study – you can go here for an explanation of how it works.

Your financial aid is first used to cover any charges on your Bursar account (tuition, fees, and room/board...those "billable costs"). You may have more financial aid than you do charges, in which case the "extra" money will be available to you as a refund. (You can fill out a refund request form here to let the Bursar know where you want the refund to go, how you want it to get there, etc.)  The Bursar usually sends out these refunds about 10 days after classes start.  Then you're free to use that refund for those "non-billable" costs such as books, toothpaste, deodorant and rent/food if you live off campus.

COA Example