How much does CU Boulder cost?

There are two ways to look at how much it will cost to attend CU Boulder: how much is billed by the university and the indirect costs of living in/near Boulder. When we calculate financial aid, we account for both in what is referred to as the Cost of Attendance (COA).

Amounts billed by the University:

  • Tuition and fees
  • On-campus housing and meal plans
  • Books & supplies (if charged to bill)
  • CU Health Plan (only if covered by university health plan)

Amounts paid by the student:

  • Off-campus housing and food
  • Books & supplies (if not charged to bill)
  • Transportation
  • Allowance for medical/dental expenses
  • Allowance for personal expenses

Your Cost

  • View our Example Cost of Attendance (COA) to see common examples.
  • To find more specific estimated costs based on your college, view annual cost estimates provided by the Bursar's Office. Tuition is based on residency (in-state or out-of-state), type of degree, and number of credit hours.

How is Financial Aid Eligibility Determined?

There are two major factors that determine your financial aid eligibility.

We carefully estimate what a student will pay to go to college for one year including both costs billed by CU and estimated personal expenses. View COA estimate examples.

Cost of attendance (COA) at CU Boulder includes tuition & fees, campus housing, and CU health insurance all billed by the university. Additionally, the cost of books, supplies, transportation, and other personal expenses that are not billed by the university are budgeted for when you are considered for financial aid.

If you received financial aid to cover the student-paid expenses, you will receive a refund check from the Bursar's Office after your aid has been applied to your bill.

SAI is a formula used to calculate a family's ability to pay for college.

  • It is determined by the FAFSA and verification process.
  • It is not the amount of money your family will need to pay for college, nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive.
  • It is used to determine grant eligibility. The lower the SAI, the more grants may be offered.
  • Some scholarships and loans are also based on the SAI.

How financial aid is calculated
See how much federal student aid you may be eligible for using the new Federal Student Aid Estimator.

How much aid will I receive?

We know "it depends" isn't the most helpful answer, but financial aid really is tailored to your situation. Here's some more information to put this in context:
  • We spread out our grant money to help many students; therefore, grant funding will never pay the full cost of an academic year by itself.
  • Almost half of the funds we distribute to students are in the form of grants and scholarships (free aid that doesn't need to be repaid). The other half is work-study, student loans and parent loans.
  • Loans offered by our office are financial aid! The loans we offer have low interest rates, grace periods and the possibility for deferment.
  • In previous years, Colorado residents with an 18,000 Student Aid Index (SAI) or less were more likely to be considered for grants than a family with a higher SAI.

The amount of aid you receive cannot exceed the cost to attend.