FAQs About Net Price Calculators

A black calculator with orange buttons showed in half. Black pen beside it.When searching for your future college, price may be important, but you should be looking past the sticker price. A net price will give you a more accurate and personalized feel for the cost of attending the school. Every college and university is actually required to have a calculator on their website, but you may have a few questions about how they work. Here are those frequently asked questions regarding net price calculators:

Who do net price calculators work for?

While anyone can use the net price calculator, they are really only geared towards first time freshman entering the school. Financial aid packages change from year to year, so while it will be accurate before your freshman year, the calculator may not work for you once you’re a sophomore.

All colleges and universities in the United States are required to have net price calculators on their website, so if you’re a freshman, you can definitely take advantage. However, some colleges make the calculators difficult to find, while others clearly outline where you can use it. You may have to do some searching for each school’s specific calculator.

With College Raptor you can discover your net price estimate for any 4-year college in the country! Just sign up for your free account, fill out your profile, and on each school’s cost tab, you will be able to then see your estimated net cost.

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What do you need for them?

To have a net price calculator to give you an accurate estimate, you will have to have you and your family’s finances handy. Income and tax statements are most important, but some colleges may require more in depth data.

Keep those financial numbers next to you. If you’re going to each school’s website, you will have to reenter the information each time. (Or just enter it ONCE on College Raptor, and get a net price estimate for every school).

What do net price calculators include?

Sticker price is the combination of tuition, room and board, travel, and other expenses such as fees. Net price is that number minus any scholarships, grants, and financial aid you may be eligible for. All school calculators will at least subtract the financial aid or any need based aid, so this can give you an accurate estimate to start with.

Other colleges will include scholarships or grants you may be eligible for through their programs. However, you will want to remember that after they review all the information, you may not receive a scholarship you thought you will. Take a look at the net price before and after any grants you may receive.

Certain schools will also include student loans in their net price calculator, but you will have to pay these back after graduation.

These are some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to net price calculators. You should absolutely take advantage of them to see a real estimate of attending a particular college, but remember that they are estimates. Things may change between now and the time you attend, particularly any scholarships or grants that may be included in your estimated net price. However, these net prices are usually a very good ballpark range.



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