Computer Purchase Information

The Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that was signed into law on October 7, 1998 allows for the inclusion of documented computer costs in the personal allowance for a student's cost of attendance.

The following are examples of items that can be included in the cost of attendance increase:

  • computer and monitor, laptop, or tablet (cannot be a combination of these)
  • printer
  • stylus
  • surge protector
  • connecting cables
  • antivirus software
  • standard three to five year warranty
  • webcam and headset/headphones with microphone (this is a temporary COVID-19 allowance due to increased virtual learning)

The following are examples of items that cannot be included in the cost of attendance increase:

  • smartphones
  • digital cameras
  • book bags, computer case, and/or briefcases
  • connecting cables for non-covered hardware
  • spare batteries
  • fax machines
  • ink cartridges
  • reams of paper

The student must initiate the process to include computer costs in the cost of attendance by contacting a financial aid advisor. Costs will only be allowed if they are supported by a purchase receipt (no estimates). The computer must have been already purchased and paid for. The maximum amount that can be added to the cost of attendance is $1,500 or the cost of the computer, whichever is less. Increasing the cost of attendance allows for additional financial aid eligibility, which is most commonly student loans.

The Office of Student Financial Aid allows a cost of attendance increase for one computer purchase as an undergraduate and/or one computer purchase as a graduate or professional student. The computer must be purchased on or after June 1 for the fall semester or on or after December 1 for the spring semester. This completed form must be submitted during the academic year in which the computer was purchased and by the final day of the semester which it was purchased.

If the computer is purchased in your final semester at the University of Iowa, this completed form must be submitted before the last week of that semester.