2 Questions about my Financial Aid Awards/Scholarships

<p>I'm living with my parents. The following is the total amount before grants/scholarships.</p>

<p>Cost of Attendance Component Amount
Tuition $9,134.00
Tuition Differential $1,750.00
Mandatory Fees $3,730.00
Books and Supplies $1,200.00
Transportation $1,452.00
Stafford Loan Fees $32.00
Personal Expenses $3,676.00
Total: $20,974.00</p>

<p>Question #1</p>

<p>What does "personal expenses" mean if books/transportation are already on there?</p>

<p>Question #2</p>

<p>My total grants/scholarships comes out to $16,814.
But tuition/mandatory fees comes out to $14,646 with the other ~$6,200 of the cost of attendance being books/transportation/personal expenses.</p>

<p>How do I take advantage of that extra ~$2,200 in scholarships after tuition is paid?</p>

<p>Like how does this ~$2,200 possibly go towards books/transportation/personal expenses when there is no physical funds in hand and just my school knowing that I have scholarships?</p>

<p>I Hope that was clear enough. Thanks!</p>

<p>Personal expenses cover things like food. Lunch, for example. Sodas, coffee, tea, snack. It can also cover clothing that you may need, shoes, glasses, backpack, tickets to a concert at the school. The numbers that they use are averages that are compiled and may not fit your needs at all. For instance, I know a student who lived right within walking distance from the college she was attending. Another is going to the same college where a parent works. Their transportation costs are going to be smaller than what the college computes. On the other hand, there are kids who commute from over an hour away, necessitating a car,insurance, maintenance, gas, parking etc. Anyone commuting from my area to a NYC school, and there are many who do, have to buy a train pass, MTA pass, and still get to the train station. The transportation allowance is not going to cover such students. Also personal expenses at a school in Manhattan can really add up. If your school is more isolated without a lot of places to spend money, you can do with a lot less. </p>

<p>The money will go into your student account by the semester most of the time. The tuition and fees are withdrawn, and that will leave a balance in your student account. You can then get that balance paid to you via check. Sometimes it will just go on your student card which can be used for meals, books, supplies, really anything on campus and at some off campus places that are linked with it.</p>

<p>The non-billable expense portion of the COA is just an estimate made by the college and is highly variable (meaning almost completely within your control) by student. For example, $1200 is a pretty high book/supply estimate for most freshmen - you can usually buy used books or rent them for a semester. Transportation is higher for a commuter student than a resident student, but a commuter living nearby or with access to good public transportation may not spend that much. For a non-resident student, personal expenses would include meal on campus but, depending on your schedule and tastes, that expense varies. Those are just examples, there are many factors that can affect your actual expenses, but by making a budget and sticking to it you can reduce or eliminate the need to borrow for your education.</p>

<p>The approximately $2,200 difference between your "gift aid" and billable expenses will be refunded to you - half per semester. Schools can't distribute federal aid earlier than a few weeks before classes begin, and some wait until a few weeks after, so check with them on what their policy is. I think it might be tough for you to commute and buy books and eat on $1,100 a semester but, if you're also working or your parents can help a bit with those smaller expenses, it sounds as if you can avoid loans...that's great!</p>