About TU

Navigating College Finances

Step 1:  What is the Cost of Attendance? 

Cost of Attendance  Lookup the Cost of Attendance for the school(s) you are interested in attending .  Colleges and universities determine this each year to set the maximum budget for purposes of determining financial aid funding eligibility. 

Direct/Indirect Costs These are determined by the Financial Aid Office. Direct costs are needs for the purpose of study - tuition, fees, books, room and meals.  Indirect costs are travel, personal expenses and off-campus housing which also qualify for financial aid funding.  Costs vary by undergraduate/graduate status, in/out-of-state residency, etc.

Expected/Unexpected Costs  These are different expenses - such as study abroad costs, application fees for graduate school, GRE/GMAT fees, membership fees (fraternity/sorority), graduation robe rental, etc. 

Costs May Change Each Year  Maryland legislators, University System of Maryland Board of Regents, and/or university officials may change an/or increase cost of attendance rates annually.

Step 2:  Can You Afford to Attend This Institution? 

Complete a FAFSA to Apply for Financial Aid  Each year complete a free FAFSA; this will estimate the type of aid (free scholarship money and/or loans to borrow) for which you may qualify.

Freshman to Senior Graduation  If the cost of attendance is hard to finance when you enter as a freshmen, then it most likely will become increasingly more difficult to afford college each year after that. 

Taking Classes At Less Expensive Institution One strategy is to consider taking General Education courses at less expensive institution, such as a community college, and transfer those credits to complete your degree at the school of your preferred choice.

Starting/Stopping School  If you need to halt your eduction at any point, be sure to do so officially.  This way your record stays in tact.  Otherwise, you may have to reapply for admission, which will require you to pay an additional fee, and prior credits may not be recognized.

Other Information  To learn more about how you can afford college, watch this video produced by Maryland Public Television

Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) also provides state funding and also has several financial aid informational videos for you to watch to better understand how financial aid funding works for Maryland schools.

Step 3:  A Student's Budget

Each college and university has different types of costs and expenses which students are required to pay in order to attend classes.  So the first question is - can you afford the costs of the institution to which you are applying? The typical costs that are eligible for funding as determined by Financial Aid.  Tuition, fees, on-campus housing and meal plans will be charged to your online student account:

  • Tuition (costs to enroll in classes)
  • Fees (additional costs, such as lab fee or athletics fee)
  • Books (varies each semester depending on which courses on is taking)
  • Housing (on/off-campus)
  • Food (referred to as meal plans, which off-campus students can purchase)
  • Transportation (car, bus, parking permit)
  • Personal expenses (clothing, health expenses)

Another way expenses are differentiated depends on the type of student a person is which is billed by the Bursar's Office:

  • Undergraduate or graduate
  • Full-time versus part-time
  • On-campus tenant or commuter
  • In-state (Maryland resident) versus out-of-state
  • International (which requires mandatory health insurance)

Step 3:  Understanding How to Fund Your Education - All

US  Department of Education (USDE).  The US Department of Education is a federal agency which offers various programs to help students pay for college through scholarships (free money) and loans (borrowed money that must be repaid). Find out more by watching USDE You Tube videos provided on the link above! 

Free Application for Federal Student Aid - FAFSA.  To determine for how much federal, state and institutional aid you qualify for, you must complete the FAFSA.  You must reapply each year by the priority deadline and it is free to apply.

Financial Aid Office.  TU's Financial Aid Office is responsible for reviewing your FAFSA and determining and mailing (or emailing for upperclassmen) your award package. 

Your Financial Aid Award   Login to your student account to review and determine whether to accept all of it or only part of it.

Financial Services
Administration Building, Fourth Floor (map) (How to use the map link)
Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Phone: 410-704-5269
Fax: 410-704-4910
E-mail: mfortier@towson.edu

Did you know

• It's good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it's good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven't lost the things that money can't buy.

- George Horace Lorimer






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