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Costs & Financial Aid
The first piece of advice for students looking at colleges is to ignore the price tag. You simply do not know what a school will cost out-of-pocket until you see a financial aid award. It is entirely possible that a $40,000 school could cost you less than a $30,000 school if the former provides a more favorable award package.
More than eighty-four percent of College of the Atlantic students receive at least some form of financial aid. Many have a low expected family contribution based on their financial aid application. We offer merit scholarships as well as need-based aid, making COA affordable for many students regardless of income. Check out our Net Price Calculator to see how financial aid might reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
The Financial Aid Office will support you as you navigate the financial aid application process. Please contact Bruce Hazam in Financial Aid at 800-528-0025.
If you earn your degree in Maine, have student loans and then live and work in Maine, you can apply for the Educational Opportunity Tax Credit that reimburses Maine workers for student loan payments! Alternatively, businesses that pay employees’ student loans as an employee benefit will be able to claim the tax credit, providing a strong incentive to expand or locate businesses here in Maine.
This will remove a major financial barrier for those who thought going to college was out of their reach, and will be a strong incentive for college graduates to start their career, family or business here in Maine.
Best of all, there is no commitment for signing up! For more information, see the Opportunity Maine's FAQ.
Financial Aid Basics
When you file an application for financial aid, your ability to contribute to the cost of education is determined by assessing your family's finances and other information. This is known as the expected family contribution (EFC) and it is generally the same regardless of what schools you apply to.
The cost of attendance of a particular school minus your EFC equals your "financial need". The financial aid officer will look at your need and determine what kinds of need-based aid you are eligible for. This may include loans, workstudy, scholarships and/or grants.
To apply for financial aid at COA, there are two fundamental steps:
- You file a FAFSA with the federal government (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). COA's school code is 011385. This will instruct the FAFSA to send a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR) to COA.The FAFSA information, once verified, will determine your eligibility for federal aid.
File COA's own short financial aid application (see the download forms page). You may also be asked to file a noncustodial parent form if your parents are separated, divorced or were never married. Be prepared to provide tax forms and W-2s. The COA form(s) is used to determine eligibility for institutional aid.
We provide a helpful checklist to steer you through the application process (download forms page)
*Need help with the FAFSA if you live in Maine? The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) has coordinated and expanded the College Goal Sunday program to help guide families through the FAFSA, step-by-step. There are many locations and dates that you can check out here.
Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to be eligible for financial aid and to successfully graduate. COA's SAP policy can be found here.
COA Code of Conduct
COA’s Office of Financial Aid and Business Office staff are committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct in handling all aspects of student aid. Our goal is to provide the information, resources and services needed to help students and families meet their educational expenses.
To that end, we subscribe to the standards espoused by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA):
An institutional financial aid professional is expected to always maintain exemplary standards of professional conduct in all aspects of carrying out his or her responsibilities, specifically including all dealings with any entities involved in any manner in student financial aid, regardless of whether such entities are involved in a government sponsored, subsidized, or regulated activity. In doing so, a financial aid professional should:
• Refrain from taking any action for his or her personal benefit.
• Refrain from taking any action he or she believes is contrary to law, regulation, or the best interest of the students and parents he or she serves.
• Ensure that the information he or she provides is accurate, unbiased, and does not reflect any preference arising from actual or potential personal gain.
• Be objective in making decisions and advising his or her institution regarding relationships with any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.
• Refrain from soliciting or accepting anything of other than nominal value from an entity (other than an institution of higher education or a government entity such as the U.S. Department of Education) involved in the making, holding, consolidating or processing of any student loans, including anything of value (including reimbursement expenses) for serving on an advisory body or as part of a training activity of or sponsored by any such entity.
• Disclose to his or her institution, in such a manner as his or her institution may prescribe, any involvement with or interest in any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.