Since October 29, 2011, almost all U.S. colleges and universities are required to have “net price calculators” on their websites.  These online tools can make it much easier for prospective students and their families to look past often scary “sticker prices” and start figuring out which colleges they might be able to afford.

Net price calculators provide early, individualized estimates of what a specific college will cost after grants and scholarships. The “net price” is what students and their families would have to earn, save, or borrow to go to that school.  This early information about college costs and financial aid can help students discover that their dream school may be more (or less) affordable than they thought – before they have to decide where to apply.


Featured Report

Adding It All Up 2012: Are College Net Price Calculators Easy to Find, Use, and Compare?

This report examines the state of net price calculators nearly a year after almost all U.S. colleges were required to post them on their websites. These online tools are supposed to help consumers look past “sticker price” and get an early, individualized estimate of what a specific college might cost them. Our in-depth look at 50 randomly selected colleges’ calculators found that many are difficult for prospective college students and their families to find, use, and compare. The report includes specific recommendations for colleges and the U.S. Department of Education to make net price calculators more useful to all students and families.