Calculate the Cost of College with Net Price Calculators

March 14th, 2012

Trying to figure out the cost of higher education can be a challenge for most students. College bound students and their parents are sometimes confused and may not know how to properly estimate college costs. This is why colleges and universities are now using net calculators on their websites to make the process a tad bit easier. Take a look at what’s involved when trying to figure college costs with net price calculators.

Estimating College CostsUsing Net Price Calculators

Most college students use financial aid to help with college expenses and don’t actually pay the full price, so net price calculators can help provide a more realistic ballpark figure of college costs. The only problem with using net price calculators is that they may not always be accurate. This is because most institutions may not have updated prices available especially if there has been a change in tuition and fees and they are still using old information on their websites. In order to get a ballpark estimate, make sure that their price lists are current and they factor in other financial aid programs as well before trying to estimate the cost of college. Comparing prices may also cause confusion, especially if some schools are using out dated information.

Net Prices on Calculators Can Vary Greatly

Schools are not required to use the same information to estimate a price and this may pose a bit of a problem for students trying to calculate their college expenses. Some schools may factor in a particular scholarship, grant, work study program and student loan into the cost while others may not. And because of this, net prices on the calculators can vary significantly.

Some Schools May Offer the More Accurate Estimates Than Others

Some schools may have the most up to date information on their websites and may be able to give a closer estimate than other schools. Students that are looking to earn an online college degree can also benefit from these calculators. However, students may have to provide personal information such as:

  • Parents taxable income information
  • Student’s grade point average (GPA)
  • Student’s test scores

Are the Net Price Calculators Accurate?

So far it seems like the net calculators are not 100 accurate, however they do provide a ball park figure to assist parents and students about what they can expect to pay for college. So despite a few minor flaws, the net calculators can still help. Even an estimate will be helpful to most students and parents.

Did you estimate the cost of your college with the help of these net price calculators? How accurate and helpful were they? Please do share your experience with us.

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