Net Price Calculators

On 11 Sept., 2020

Net Price Calculators: Helping Families Determine the Cost of College

Net Price Calculators

These online tools are intended to help prospective students and their families determine the actual cost of attending each college they are considering. Net price calculators can yield surprises, such as revealing that a school with high tuition is actually affordable when need-based aid is considered.

What Does Net Price Mean?
"Net" refers to the total cost. Online net price calculators are designed to help families see the estimated total cost of one year of college for a full-time undergraduate student. Their goal is to ensure prospective students and their families enter the college admissions process with full information on the expected cost. More than just the sum of tuition and housing, the net price also includes food, fees, and estimates for books, travel, and personal expenses. Families should remember that while these calculators are useful, all calculations are estimates.

What Information Does a Net Price Calculator Provide?
Net price calculators vary, particularly in the amount of information each one requests of families; as a result, the estimates they provide may be more or less detailed. By law, all online college net price calculators are required to show tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies, expenses, any grant aid a student may qualify for, and the total estimated net price for one year. In addition, colleges must disclose the percentage of students who received grant aid from the school.

Where Can Families Find Net Price Calculators?
Every college and university that provides Title IV federal student aid, such as grants and loans, must have a net price calculator on analytical essay website. Most schools include a link to the calculator on their financial aid page. Prospective students and their parents can search on each school's website or search for "net price calculator" plus the college's name. Because cost is specific to each institution, families wishing to compare costs will need to locate the calculator for each school on their lists.