Your Bill vs. Cost of Attendance

When determining how much financial assistance you might need, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs looks at the bigger picture.

Cost of Attendance Calculation

Generally, the Bursar is going to charge you for things:

Such as:

  • tuition
  • fees
  • residence hall room
  • meal plan

An estimate is made of how much it’s going to cost the average student to live for the academic year while attending school. This is called Cost of Attendance. So, in addition to the tuition, fees, and room/board charges (also known as “billable costs”), an estimate is made of how much you’ll be paying for books and supplies, travel, and general living expenses (also known as “non-billable” costs, meaning they don’t appear your bill). For these estimates, general averages are used, so you’ll notice that your Cost of Attendance is larger than your Bursar charges that appear on your bill.

View the Cost of Attendance for Undergraduate Students.

Financial Aid Calculation

To calculate the amount of financial aid you’ll need, start with the Cost of Attendance (how much you’ll be paying to live for the academic year) and then subtract your Expected Family Contribution  (the amount that your family has been calculated to be able to contribute based on the information you provided on your FAFSA and CSS Profile). Starting in the fall of 2024 the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), is now called the Student Aid Index (SAI). The remaining amount is the total of financial aid you may receive. This amount is then split evenly-half for the fall term and half for the spring term.

Net Price Calculator

The Net Price Calculator provides an early indication of how much and what types of financial aid you might qualify for.

Your Bill

Provided that you’ve submitted all documents necessary as listed on your MySlice Financial Aid To Do List, your financial aid will appear on your bill as “anticipated financial aid”. This means that the aid isn’t on your Bursar account yet but is being used 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. (This disbursement of financial aid occurs no earlier than 10 days before the first day of class.) The exception is Federal Work-Study for which you’ll have to work and earn a paycheck (visit the  Student Employment page for more details).

Want to know more details about your charges, fees, and other policies? Take a look at the tuition, fees, and related policies bulletin.

What is a Refund?

Your financial aid is first used to cover any charges on your Bursar account (tuition, fees, residence hall, and meal plan). 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 to let the Bursar know where you want the refund to go and how you want it to get there. 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, rent, and food.

Syracuse University offers other payment options including a monthly payment plan. Learn more by visiting the Bursar’s Office or call 315.443.2444 to discuss additional payment options.


If you or your family are experiencing special circumstances that affect your ability to pay your bill, please contact your financial aid counselor for advice and possible solutions by calling 315.443.1513 or via email .