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Determine Your Net Cost of Attendance

When it comes to planning for college expenses, it's important to understand your net (out-of-pocket) cost. This refers to the estimated total cost of attending, minus any scholarships or grants you receive. You can cover out-of-pocket costs using personal funds, student loans, or a mixture of both. Knowing this information will help you plan ahead and budget effectively for your college education.

We are committed to transparency regarding the costs associated with attending Cal Poly and we are dedicated to assisting you in finding feasible ways, through financial aid and other funding opportunities, to achieve your educational goals.

Step 1: Determine your estimated total cost of attendance by using our Cost of Attendance charts

  • Costs displayed in the Cost of Attendance charts are averages. Your exact costs may be higher or lower based on your choices and lifestyle.
  • Your estimated total cost of attendance will vary depending on your residency status, major and year you began at Cal Poly. This includes both direct costs that are billed by Cal Poly (e.g., housing and tuition) and indirect costs that are not billed by Cal Poly (e.g., transportation and lifestyle expenses).

Step 2: Review your financial aid award after you have been accepted to Cal Poly

  • You will need to accept or decline any scholarship and/or loan funding by logging into your My Cal Poly portal. Go to the "Money Matters" tab, click on “View My Financial Aid,” then select the current Aid Year.
  • Grant funding is automatically accepted for you.

Step 3:  Subtract your financial aid and scholarships from your total estimated cost of attendance

  • Exclude any Federal Work Study (FWS) funds from this calculation. FWS funds are paid directly to students who secure employment, in the form of a monthly paycheck. 

Step 4: Choose a payment option that best fits your financial circumstances and goals

  • Pay with additional loan funding. The most common options are the Parent PLUS Loan and private loans. Compare these loan types and chose the right one for you. The maximum you can borrow is your estimated cost of attendance minus all awarded financial aid. One third of the total loan amount will be disbursed before the beginning of each (fall, winter and summer) quarter. Please be advised that online applications for Parent PLUS Loans will not be available until after June 1st for the upcoming academic year.
  • Pay with an interest-free monthly payment plan. Students can enroll in a Term Payment Plan where each quarter’s registration/tuition charges are broken down into three monthly payments. Housing and dining charges are broken down into monthly payments.
  • Pay in full when billed each quarter. The Student Accounts Office will send you an email each quarter (fall, winter and spring) after your charges have been posted. You will be billed separately for registration/tuition, housing and/or dining (if applicable to you). You are not charged registration/tuition fees until you enroll each quarter. However, housing and dining charges are posted upfront for the academic year. The Student Accounts Office handles charges and payments. Learn more about charges and due dates.