Cost of Attendance Information

The purpose of the Cost of Attendance (COA), sometimes referred to as the “student budget”,  is to provide students and families with an estimated cost to attend SMU for a single academic year, consisting of two terms (Fall and Spring), or nine calendar months (September to the following May).  The COA is reviewed and approved by the University administration.   The following information explains how the COA is determined and the role it plays in calculating your total financial aid package. 

The Cost of Attendance not only provides baseline information on how much it will cost to attend SMU, but it is also determines the maximum amount a student is eligible to receive in total financial assistance.  It is the starting point for building a financial aid award that combines scholarships, grants and loans from various funding sources into a single award package.  The combined total of all funding sources cannot exceed the COA.  Keep in mind that the COA, as it relates to your financial aid, is the estimated cost for the majority of students enrolled in a degree seeking academic program.  It includes allowances for tuition, fees, housing, dining, transportation, books, supplies, and miscellaneous expenses.  The amount used for each expense category will vary depending on the degree plan, specific program of study, number of enrolled hours, and choice of housing.  

Direct Costs vs In-Direct Costs

  • Direct costs:  Educational expenses that are billed directly by the University such as tuition, fees, housing and dining for students living on campus.
  • In-Direct costs: Expenses that are directly related to your education, but not billed by the University.  For example, students living off campus are expected to pay rent and utilities.  These expenses are related to your education, but are not billed directly by the university.  They are "in-direct costs".  The amounts may vary significantly depending on a student's choice in housing, neighborhood, utility service plans, etc.  

2023-2024 Annual Estimated Undergraduate Cost of Attendance

The following information is based on enrollment for the fall and spring terms, and registered as a full time student (12-18 credit hours) for each term,  Summer and Inter-term expenses are not included in the following example.  To determine exact tuition and fees based on 1-11 enrolled hours, please see the University Bursar's Direct Cost of Attendance webpage.  


Off Campus living expenses are specific to the individual student and should be considered when evaluating your housing options. Expenses will vary significantly due to the choice of neighborhood, apartment rental rates, number of roommates, or living with parents.

Graduate and Professional Cost of Attendance

The following information is based on estimated expenses for a single student, living off-campus, without a roommate. 

 Information for International Student I-20 Requests can be found here.  

Direct Costs (Typically billed by SMU):
Tuition rates and fees for Graduate programs vary depending on your academic program.
To determine exact direct costs for your specific program of study, please see the University Bursar's Direct Cost of Attendance page.


(See Bursar's Direct Cost page )*

Student Fees

(See Bursar's Direct Cost page )*

In-Direct Costs (Estimated expenses not billed by SMU)

Allowance for Off-Campus Housing & Dining,
Books, Supplies, Loan Fees, Transportation,
& Miscellaneous expenses

Online programs in-direct cost allowance





**Allowances are estimated based on off-campus housing. Expenses for living off-campus are specific to the individual student and will vary significantly depending on the type of housing, choice in neighborhood, home leasing/rental rates and the number of occupants. Each of these should be considered when evaluating your housing options.