The UI Office of Student Financial Aid (UI OSFA) establishes a standard estimated cost of attendance which is used to determine your financial need.  The estimated cost of attendance figures reflect modest but adequate expenses for University of Iowa students and are based on research conducted by the UI OSFA and student survey responses. While actual expenses of individual students will vary based on personal lifestyle choices and other variable costs encountered, the estimated cost should assist you in planning your budget.

The estimated cost of attendance includes both costs that are billed directly by the University Billing Office and other average expenses, including books and supplies, personal/miscellaneous, and transportation. The costs that are billed directly to you and will appear on your University Bill are tuition and fees and on-campus housing and meals.  

Billed by the University Billing Office

  • Tuition and Fees
  • Tuition is the amount you are charged for the courses in which you enroll. Fees are charged for services available to all students. The amounts will vary depending on your college, year in school and/or enrollment hours. The tuition and fees are billed directly to you by the University Billing Office and appear on your University Bill.  The complete listing of tuition and fee amounts is available from The Office of the Registrar's Tuition and Fee Tables.
  • The tuition amount listed on your award notification is based on either resident or nonresident status. The UI Registrar’s Office decides whether you pay in-state or out-of-state tuition by determining why you are in the state of Iowa.  If you are a nonresident student in the state primarily for educational purposes, you will be considered a nonresident.  The University of Iowa does not have any reciprocity agreements for tuition adjustments with other states.  Resident classification information and answers to commonly asked questions are available on the Registrar’s Office website.  If you have questions about residency, contact the Registrar’s Office.
  • If you are changing enrollment hours or residency status, notify our office via the Award Notification section on MyUI or email us at  If you email, be sure to include your full name and UI ID number.  The UI OSFA will review the updated information and notify you by email of any changes in your financial aid.
  • On-Campus Housing and Meals (Other institutions may refer to this as room and board.)
  • This is an estimated amount that you will pay if you live on campus in a residence hall. This estimated amount is used for all students living in the residence halls and is based on a double room with air conditioning and an average of the Black and Gold meal plans. Your actual contracted amounts could be different from this estimated amount.  View the housing and dining rates on the University Housing and Dining website.

Not Billed by the University Billing Office

These expenses are paid by the student as they are incurred.  They are the most variable expenses since they reflect personal spending habits and offer the most options for frugal spending.  If you receive a financial aid refund (any financial aid in excess of what is billed by the University Billing Office), it should be used to pay these expenses.

  • Off-Campus Housing and Meals:  The amount listed for housing is an average based on a survey of various rental units in the Iowa City/Coralville area.  The meal cost is based on the USDA Cost of Food at Home average determined by the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.  The UI OSFA uses a standard amount when determining the cost of attendance for all students living off-campus.  Your actual off-campus housing and meal costs may be different.
  • Books & Supplies:  This is an estimated amount for books and supplies for a full-time student. The amount you pay for books and supplies will vary depending on the courses that you are taking and where you purchase your books. The UI OSFA does an annual review of book and supply costs by taking a sample of currently enrolled students and reviewing what they spend on books and supplies.
  • Transportation:  This is an estimated amount that you could spend for transportation traveling to and from classes and going home during breaks.  If you live in the residence halls, your transportation expenses should be minimal as there is a free Cambus system that transports students throughout the campus; therefore, the cost of having a car is not factored into your estimated costs. Unless absolutely necessary, it is not recommended to have a car on campus if you live in the residence halls. 
  • Personal and Miscellaneous:  This is an estimated amount that, on average, students may spend on items which include, but are not limited to, clothing, personal hygiene, entertainment, and laundry.