For many students and parents, college enrollment decisions come down to cost. That's why the federal government requires every college and university that offers federal student aid to have an online net price calculator. Net price calculators allow prospective students to enter information about themselves to find out what students like them paid to attend the institution in the previous year, after taking grants and scholarship aid into account.
“You never know what type of aid an institution offers,” says Megan McClean Coval, managing director for policy and federal relations at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. “Sometimes students are surprised by what might be available to them.”
For example, say University A costs $50,000 per year and University B costs $35,000. At first glance, University B appears more affordable. But once you've completed both schools' net price calculators, you might find that you qualify for $20,000 in aid from University A and no aid from University B. That brings University A's net price to $30,000, or $5,000 less than University B's. Finally, net price calculators don’t guarantee aid. You'll have to wait for award letters from the schools at which you or your student is accepted to find out exact amounts.
Click HERE to access the Net Price Calculator Center