Although most students find that their education-related expenses can be accommodated within their basic Cost of Attendance (COA), there may be unusual expenses that exceed the relevant allowance(s) within the COA.

The Cost of Attendance (COA) Adjustment Request process allows Davidson’s Financial Aid Office to review additional educational expenses incurred during a student’s period of enrollment, to determine if the COA can be increased to accommodate the extra costs.

In order to be considered for a COA adjustment:

  • You must already be receiving financial aid, and
  • Your expenses must exceed the standard allowances provided for your period of enrollment.

Allowable Expenses

The Office of Financial Aid provides limited increases to the COA in compliance with federal regulations. Allowable expenses include costs that are incurred during a student’s period of enrollment and fall in any of the following categories:

  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • One-Time Computer Purchase
  • Health Insurance
  • License, Certification, or First Professional Credential if required for the student’s academic program
  • Dependent Care
  • Disability-Related Expenses
  • Required Medical/Dental Expenses
  • Other allowable expenses that are determined by the Financial Aid Office to be required for your education.

The submitted Cost of Attendance Adjustment Form must include supporting documentation. Expenses listed without supporting documents will not be reviewed, and the request will be denied. Uploaded materials may be submitted as either Word documents or PDFs.


The Financial Aid Office may limit the amount of a student’s increase for any reason and must decline an increase if it is determined that the cost was not incurred during the current period of enrollment or if it is not an allowable education-related expense.

The Financial Aid Office is not able to adjust the COA for the following types of expenses:

  • Costs incurred outside the current academic year, including costs incurred before matriculation or after the final day of exams for the student’s final term (an exception may be made in the case of a computer that is purchased during the summer for use in the fall term)
  • Costs incurred by another person (e.g., roommate, etc.)
  • Outstanding student loan payments
  • Auto purchase, lease or loan payments, or vehicle insurance
  • Credit card or other consumer debt payments
  • Moving expenses and security deposits
  • Child support and other childcare expenses other than day care
  • Legal fees, bail, traffic tickets, parking tickets, or fines
  • Veterinary costs, unless for a animal
  • Elective Medical/Dental Expenses
  • Test prep fees, or exam fees for programs not associated with, or required for, the student’s current academic program
  • Luxury items (such as premium cable channels), food costs that exceed the standard allowance, or other similar costs unless required for specific education-related reasons

We cannot consider third-party and cash transactions. The Financial Aid Office will only accept documented purchases made with a credit card, debit card, check, or other transaction type that shows

  1. the identity of the purchaser,
  2. the identity of the seller,
  3. the date of purchase,
  4. the amount of the purchase, and
  5. an itemized list of items purchased.

With the exception of purchases made by the parent of a dependent student, purchases made by another person on the student's behalfeven if later reimbursed by the studentwill not be accepted.

may submit a COA Adjustment Request only once per semester, and we are able to consider only those requests submitted before classes end for the academic year.  

Most budget increases must be made after an expense is incurred. In certain cases, prior to incurring the cost you may wish to determine whether the cost can be approved. To request a pre-approval, you would submit a Cost of Attendance (COA) Adjustment Form, including documentation of the anticipated expense (e.g., a screen shot of an as-yet-unpurchased item, showing the expected cost). Financial aid staff will review the request and, if approved, will inform you of the approved amount. After a pre-approval, a student must still submit proof that the pre-approved payment was made during the current award period in order to receive a COA adjustment and potential reimbursement of the expense.  If not automatically provided, an “update URL” may be requested for the purpose of submitting documentation of your actual purchase and payment – contact the Financial Aid Office for your personal URL or to ask any questions.

Resources Used for COA Adjustments

Generally, funds can be used only for expenses that fall within the typical COA. Excess expenses are usually covered with other forms of assistance. If your request for a COA adjustment is approved, you may use one of the following resources to cover your additional expenses:

  • Outside scholarship or resource (if approved by the external organization providing the scholarship/resource, and if the total of your outside resources exceeds $5,000 or otherwise results in an adjustment to the aid awarded from Davidson, as noted in our Outside Resources Policy)
  • Federal Direct Loan (student)
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan (parent)
  • Private, alternative loan

Cost of Attendance Adjustment Form

You can find the COA Form on our Financial Aid Forms page. The Financial Aid Office will notify you via email within approximately 10 business days if your request is not approved. Approved requests will be communicated via a revised financial aid offer.