Cost of Attendance

What is a Cost of Attendance?

The Cost of Attendance, occasionally referred to as COA or budget, is an estimate of a student’s educational expenses for a period of enrollment. The United States Department of Education requires that all institutions utilizing Title IV funds establish a COA prior to awarding and disbursing financial aid funds.

Our COA is determined annually based on average expenses Missouri State students incur while completing their programs of study. It is important to keep in mind that the COA is not necessarily reflective of how much it will cost you to attend Missouri State. This is due to the fact that we use averages and must include all components (even those that may not apply to you) in the COA. We develop different COAs based on basic student populations (e.g., in-state undergraduate students living on- or off-campus, out-of-state undergraduate students living on- or off-campus, etc.).

Your actual costs at Missouri State will be largely determined by choices you make. Such choices include the number of hours in which you enroll, whether you live on-campus or commute from home, and what type of standard of living you choose to maintain. For example, some students may experience higher costs for housing if they choose to live on-campus than students who choose to live with their parents and commute to campus. However, these same students will also experience lower costs for transportation than those who choose to commute. When considering your actual cost, it is important to consider all these factors.

How is COA used?

The COA plays two major roles in determining the type and amount of financial aid you are awarded.

First, the COA is used to determine your financial need. For financial aid purposes, financial need is determined by subtracting your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined on the FAFSA from your COA. Financial need is how we determine your eligibility for need-based funds like Pell Grants, Access Missouri, Direct Subsidized Loans, Federal Work Study, and selected others.

Second, the COA serves as the ceiling on how much financial aid you are eligible to be awarded. Federal regulations require that a student’s award package not exceed COA. For this reason, when we are developing your COA we want to make sure it is as comprehensive but accurate as possible.

What contributes to the COA?

The COA is comprised of various components including:

  • Tuition & Fees
  • Housing & Meals
  • Books & Supplies
  • Transportation
  • Personal Expenses
  • Direct Loan Fees

Again, averages are used when calculating the COA and for this reason not all categories apply the same way to all students. For example, a student who chooses not to borrow Direct Student Loans will not have the associated loan origination fees. However, this component must be included in every student’s COA for consistency and to remain in compliance with Department of Education regulations.

Common COA Groups

As previously mentioned, we establish different COA groups based on broad categories of student. Below are breakdowns of common groups to illustrate how your 2020-2021 Academic Year COA is calculated.

Common COA Groups
Student Category Tuition & Fees Housing & Meals Books & Supplies Transportation Personal Expenses Direct Loan Fees Total COA
Undergraduate, In-State, Living On- or Off-Campus $7,938 $9,284 $1,314 $1,146 $2,924 $114 $22,720
Undergraduate, In-State, Living With Parent $7,938 $4,642 $1,314 $1,146 $2,924 $114 $18,078
Undergraduate, Out-of-State, Living On- or Off-Campus $16,608 $9,284 $1,314 $1,146 $2,924 $114 $31,390
Graduate, In-State, Living On- or Off-Campus $6,534 $9,940 $788 $1,146 $4,032 $212 $22,652
Graduate, Out-of-State, Living On- or Off-Campus $12,042 $9,940 $788 $1,146 $4,032 $212 $28,160

*These 2020-2021 COA figures are subject to revision by the Missouri State University Board of Governors.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition & fees are calculated using in-state tuition rates of $228 per credit hour for 30 credit hours. Also included is the student service fee of $549 per semester for a full-time undergraduate student. These are basic amounts. You may incur additional charges based on the courses you take. Please see detailed costs and fees for more information.

Housing & Meals

Housing & meals are calculated using averages of Missouri State University residence options and the 14-meal dining plan. Also included is $165 in BoomerMeals per semester.

Books & Supplies

Books & supplies are calculated based on figures self-reported by Missouri State undergraduate students on a 2019 cost survey. These costs can vary based on the number and type of courses taken by a student.


Transportation costs are calculated using a standard of 11 miles per day and mileage rates provided by the Internal Revenue Service. Also included is the cost of a commuter parking permit.

Personal Expenses

Personal expenses were calculated based on figures self-reported by Missouri State undergraduate students on a 2019 cost survey for items such as cell phone, medical care, personal hygiene products, etc.

Direct Loan Fees

Direct Loan fees are calculated annually based on the average loan origination fees paid by undergraduate students over the course of the previous academic year.