By the end of October, U.S. colleges must meet a federal requirement to create online “net price calculators.” These calculators are intended to help prospective students and their families gauge college affordability, providing early individualized estimates of what particular colleges will cost them after grants and scholarships.
We took an early look at how colleges are approaching this requirement and found mixed results for how easy the calculators were to find, use, and understand.
Our recommendations include:
- Colleges should make their net price calculators easy for prospective students and their families to find.
- Colleges should create net price calculators that allow prospective students and their families to easily get and view results.
- Colleges should make the results from their net price calculators easy for prospective students and their families to understand and compare.
- Colleges should protect prospective students’ information and clearly communicate how that information will be used.