Director of Financial Aid Helen Nunn said that the Net Price Calculator, or NPC, is an "opportunity for prospective students and parents to enter their own unique data and get an approximation of the financial aid they would receive."
Nunn said that the NPC could have both positive and negative effects.
"It might get people on the ball sooner. The sooner families understand that they need to contribute savings, the better," she said.
On the other hand, Nunn said she thinks the NPC is too generic. She said she has tried to make Susquehanna's NPC as broad as possible under the limitations of the federal law. "We express our results in ranges," she said.
"My main concern is that people will rule us out just on the basis of this wisp of information," she said.
According to Nunn, other schools view the NPC as just another regulation, seeing as they have to take the extra steps to hire an outside company for the software.
Nunn said she would not offer an NPC if it weren't federally mandated.
And this is her again in a guest blog in the Wash Post:
So, go ahead and crank your data through some NPCs, get some idea of what your family may be expected to pay, but don’t let that be the last thing you do. No calculator is going to take the place of a conversation with someone in the college’s financial aid office who can advise you about changing family circumstances, about how studying abroad will impact the aid award or a host of other possibilities. People — students and their families and the financial aid staffs at the institutions — are still the biggest part of this equation.
This kind of rubs me the wrong way. I think the net price calculators are a great tool - not perfect - but better than nothing. I understand that at a very small school like Susquehanna - families have more opportunities to meet personally with a FA officer and sit down together and go over numbers - but that is not the case at most universities.
Last edited by rockvillemom; 10-26-2011 at 01:08 PM.
All very valid points - I can definitely see SU making the case that the net price calculators are not in their best interest - but as a parent - I like this new tool - and understand that any data given is just a rough estimate. Plan to use it on Saturday and see what we might get!
I think using the tool will benefit most parents. It will be even more valuable if it uses past price increases to predict future price hikes, a some colleges have more sharply upward trends than others.
Best net price calculator I have seen by far! This is a custom design - not using College Board or another packaged one. It gives you an estimate of both merit aid and need-based aid. Very clear presentation of the final results.
My only objection is that the calculator asks for your high school - have not seen that before - which makes it pretty easy to identify who you are - just from filling out an "anonymous" calculator - if you have very few students applying from your high school. Despite that reservation - I went ahead and did it. Showed a nice merit award - a smaller amount of need-based aid - plus a student loan.
And you know me - I like answers - so I emailed Helen Nunn to compliment her on the quality of the calculator and to ask her why they asked for the student's hs. She's out this week - but it will be interesting to see if I get a response when she returns.