NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED536186
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct
Pages: 40
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Adding It All up 2012: Are College Net Price Calculators Easy to Find, Use, and Compare?
Cheng, Diane
Institute for College Access & Success
By providing early, individualized estimates of college costs and financial aid, net price calculators can help prospective college students and their families look past often scary "sticker prices" and start figuring out which colleges they might be able to afford. These online tools, currently available on almost all college websites, 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. After entering information about their finances, academics, or other factors, students and their families can view the full cost of attendance, the amount of grants and scholarships they are likely to receive, and the "net price"--the remaining amount that they would have to save, earn, or borrow to attend a particular college. Nearly all U.S. colleges were required by law to post net price calculators on their websites by October 29, 2011. In a March 2011 issue brief, "Adding It All Up: An Early Look at Net Price Calculators," the author and her colleagues analyzed 16 calculators that were posted before the deadline. Now that the deadline has passed by nearly a year, this report takes a more in-depth look at the net price calculators from 50 randomly selected colleges. While they found some positive practices that were not evident at the time of their previous report, net price calculators are still not reliably easy for prospective college students and their families to find, use, and compare. Appended are: (1) List of Colleges in the Sample and Their Net Price Calculators; and (2) Profile of Fictional Students Used for Analysis. (Contains 12 figures, 2 tables and 40 footnotes.)
Institute for College Access & Success. 405 14th Street 11th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612. Tel: 5110-559-9509; Fax: 510-845-4112; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Institute for College Access & Success