KU architecture students working in class.

Understand Aid

You’ve probably asked yourself if you can afford KU, and your answer likely incorporated your goals, your timeline, your debt tolerance, and other personal considerations. But, mostly likely, you’ve said yes — a college degree is a top priority. The next question, and the one that we can help with: How can you afford KU? That answer involves lots of variables that you’ll decide.

If you’ve used our Net Price Calculator, you know the four main elements of a financial aid package: scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans. And by now, you know that the most important step to obtaining that aid is filing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. No matter your family’s financial situation, you should submit this important form.

What is financial aid?

Financial aid is funding intended to help a student meet the cost of attending college. These funds are provided by federal, state, and local governments, along with colleges, community organizations, and private corporations or individuals.

Financial aid includes gift aid that does not need to be repaid, like grants and scholarships, and self-help aid, such as loans (which require repayment) and work-study (which requires employment). Other forms of aid include fee waivers, fellowships, sponsorships — any monetary assistance toward a student’s higher education goals.

KU’s Financial Aid & Scholarships (FAS) office is responsible for awarding federal, state, and institutional financial aid. In addition, FAS awards scholarships to incoming freshmen and transfer students and maintains records for outside and private scholarships. 

Determining your aid

Cost of Attendance (COA) is a standardized estimate of what it will cost to attend KU for the academic year. The COA includes resident or nonresident tuition and fees — as well as special fees for programs such as engineering, law, and pharmacy — along with room and board, books, transportation, and personal expenses.

The Student Aid Index (SAI) is an index used to determine a student's eligibility for financial aid programs. From information reported on your FAFSA, the SAI is calculated using a formula established by federal law. After you file your FAFSA, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) that contains your SAI.

Your eligibility for need-based programs is determined by subtracting your SAI from your COA. The resulting figure, financial need, matches the maximum amount of need-based financial aid programs for which you may be eligible.

Circumstances may cause your aid to be adjusted or canceled, and if you withdraw from classes, you may be required to repay some or all of your aid. You can review these possible situations on our Special Circumstances page.

College Cost Transparency Initiative

The University of Kansas is committed to using the Principles & Standards of the College Cost Transparency Initiative in our student financial aid offers.

Financial aid overviews will be available for new students in mid-April and current students at the beginning of June. Once your financial offer has been generated, an e-mail will be sent to your email notifying you that it is available to be viewed.


College Cost Transparency Initiative Partner Seal