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Many Students Don't Take Advantage of Net Price Calculators

By Catherine Groux
Posted September 26, 2012 11:00 AM

Net price calculators are very important during the college search process.
Net price calculators are very important during the college search process.
When students research prospective colleges, it is important for them to determine the net price of the school, as opposed to simply finding the sticker price. While the sticker price shows the full cost of the college, the net price subtracts grants and scholarships that students might be eligible for, which gives them a clearer picture of what they will actually pay for school.

Despite the importance of calculating a school's net price, many students find the sticker price, consider it too high and determine they will not attend the college, even though they may have received enough aid to enroll. According to a survey published by the College Board and Art & Science Group, about half of high school seniors rule out colleges based solely on their sticker price. Additionally, only 35% of students said they had used a net price calculator, while only 3.5% said their parents had used this tool.

Although many students dismiss a school's net price, it has never been easier for them to calculate this figure. In 2011, the Higher Education Opportunity Act made it mandatory for all schools offering Title IV federal student aid programs to post a net price calculator on their websites, the National Center for Education Statistics reports.

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