Cost of Attendance (COA) Appeal

What is a Cost of Attendance (COA) Appeal? 

The Cost of Attendance (COA) for an academic program provides a realistic estimate of the costs a student may incur while attending the University of South Alabama. If the standard COA does not accurately reflect basic educational expenses, students may submit a COA Appeal and upload supporting documentation of their expenses.


Please Note: COA Appeals will open June 1, 2023 for the 2023-2024 aid year. 


A COA Appeal may be considered for the following expenses if a student is incurring increased costs that are not captured within the standard COA:

  • Required tuition
  • Required books, course materials, supplies & equipment 
  • Housing (student's share only and will take the average of the specific location if living off-campus)
  • Educational transportation costs
  • Participation in a study-abroad program
  • Dependent care expenses
  • USA Student Health Insurance (if required for course of study)
  • Purchase of a computer/laptop (one-time reasonable purchase)


Expenses that cannot be considered for a COA Appeal but are not limited to:

  • Consumer bills (i.e., credit card debt, car payments)
  • Food and on-campus meal expenses for off-campus students
  • Expenses for extracurricular activities (i.e., sports, internships)
  • Relocation expenses
  • Expenses for other family members
  • Pet or hobby expenses


If the appeal is approved, the amount the student or their parent is eligible to borrow will increase.  Due to annual and aggregate Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan limits, it is possible that eligibility could be restricted to a PLUS Loan and/or Private Student Loans.  

Submitting a COA Appeal does not guarantee that the COA will change. If loans are increased due to a COA Appeal, it is the student's responsibility (or, the parent if the increase is in Parent PLUS Loan eligibility) to take the necessary steps to secure the additional loan funds.

Steps to Submit a COA Appeal

1. Log into the Verification Portal using your JagNet credentials;

2. Confirm the 4 key identifiers from the FAFSA (first name, last name, date of birth and social security number);

3. Click the Manage Requests box in the upper right hand corner of the page and select the blue plus sign for Cost of Attendance (COA) Appeal  for the appropriate aid year. 

4. Complete the COA Appeal and upload documentation to support the circumstances.


NOTE: COA Appeals for College of Medicine students should be directed to the Associate Director of Financial Aid for the College of Medicine. 


COA Appeal FAQs

The review process typically takes 10 to 14 business days. Students will be notified via JagMail once the COA Appeal is reviewed. During busy processing times, it may take longer for appeals to be evaluated.
COA Appeals will open June 1, 2023 for the 2023-2024 aid year. 
Students can submit one (1) COA Appeal per semester. Students should contact the Office of Financial Aid at to confirm if an additional appeal is needed. 

Examples are (but not limited to):


  • Excess rent: a copy of lease agreement
  • Homeowner's or renter's insurance premiums: proof of payment, copy of the policy
  • Proof of payment: receipts, billing statements for three months for utilities


Medical Expenses: 

  • Healthcare provider's billing statements showing cost, date of treatment, and the amount paid
  • Copy of insurance policy (for student's premium cost)
  • Proof of payment by student or parent


Books & Supplies: 

  • Signed statement from instructor or advisor outlining the required items
  • Required reference texts
  • Required special equipment/supplies
  • Required research costs



Costs of commuting to USA from surrounding communities or visiting family and/or commuting to work/internship from surrounding communities.

  • Estimated mileage per trip (indicate whether one-way or round trip)
  • List starting and ending addresses
  • Number of trips and total mileage
  • Term(s) in which the student will will incur extra travel expenses
  • Receipts for travel expenses
  • For Study Abroad Travel expenses, proof of purchase of an airline ticket