What Is The Average Net Price Of College?

Everyone agrees that college is expensive. However, what remains confusing for many families is how much college actually costs. When researching the cost of college, you’ll come across two main terms – sticker price and net price. Understanding what each term means and the difference between the two is important. As is the average net price of college.

College student with money

What Is Sticker Price?

The price published on a school’s website is called the ‘sticker price’. The sticker price takes into consideration the cost of every component that goes into getting a college education. This includes the annual tuition fees, cost of room, board, books, and miscellaneous costs such as library card fees or parking permits.

A college’s sticker price is the actual annual cost of attending that particular institution. However, that’s rarely the amount that families will pay. What families end up paying is the net price.

What Is Net Price?

The ‘net price’ of a college is what a student will actually pay to attend that particular institution for one year. Net price is calculated as annual sticker price minus all financial aid offered to the student, including grants, scholarships, and education tax benefits.

It’s a more accurate representation of what you’ll actually pay.

All students attending a college do not pay the same net price. The net price you pay to attend any college is specific to you. This is because it is based on your financial aid package, which is based on your personal financial circumstances.

A higher sticker price doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll pay a correspondingly higher net price. Depending on the school’s financial aid policies, deserving students with financial need may get a generous financial aid package. This can drop their net price considerably.

What Is the Average Net Price of College?

‘Average Net Price’ is another term you’re likely to come across while researching financial aid. This refers to the average cost that students pay to attend a school. This is obtained by deducting the average federal, state, and institutional gift aid from the sticker price of a college.

In fact, the average net price of college in America may surprise you. The College Board broke down college costs in 2018-2019:

  • Average Net Price for Private Colleges (2019): $14,610
  • Average Net Price for Public Colleges (2019): $3,740

Knowing the average net price is very useful for families. It can help identify schools that are most likely to offer the amount of financial aid they need to make it affordable for them. It’s important to keep in mind that this is an average.

College Raptor Can Help You Find YOUR Net Price

College Raptor makes discovering your net price quick and easy. Within a few minutes, you can get your net price estimates for every 4-year college across the United States. We’ll estimate your net prices, potential financial aid awards, and debt at graduation. Best of all, our net price calculator is free to use.

Don’t let the high sticker price deter you from choosing the college of your dreams. The actual net price may be more affordable than you think depending on your financial aid eligibility. Use College Raptor’s free College Match Tool to calculate YOUR net price for attending any college in the United States.


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