Is Tennessee Tech's Net Price Calculator for real?

My son and I are running NPC’s for a bunch of schools and TTU’s is saying he would receive $29,000 in grant aid, bringing his net cost to $9,000. That’s the lowest we have found anywhere. But we are doubting it. It seems too good to be true. It isn’t a very detailed calculator. It doesn’t ask his gpa or test scores, just need based aid type questions (# in family, #in college, income) which is in our favor since we have 9 in our family and 2 in college and one income on police officer salary. So, it “could” be accurate for our need based situation (EFC is only $5000ish) but how can one tell if the NPC of a school is accurate?
I called admissions and they said the NPC is pretty accurate, but called the Fin Aid office and the 3 different people I spoke to acted like they had never heard of a NPC calculator and said don’t go by what it says. LOL!
Anyone have any advice or personal experience?

no experience with that particular NPC, but in general if your finances are pretty straightforward (mostly just income from a job, no small businesses, no alimony or split parents) then the NPC should be pretty close to the actual award.

Only some schools include merit aid estimates in their NPCs. looks like TTU uses it to estimate only need based aid with theirs, though. They may have merit awards available as well, but may not include an estimate in their calculator, maybe because they are competitive and hard to predict.

Just my thoughts from limited experience and what I have observed from other’s posts…

Looks like TTU uses a common minimalist template (the same one used by NYU and many other schools) with relatively few questions and only income ranges (instead of asking for income), so it may not be the most accurate. It also says 2014-2015 on it, so it looks like no one at the school has paid attention to updating it for a few years.

Very doubtful that’s an accurate number without asking for stats. They don’t publish all their Common Data Set info but the College Navigator shows the averages for aid and it’s much lower. Granted, those are averages, but…

You can always call the FA dept and talk to someone there.

Unless EVERYONE at Tenn Tech is receiving mega amounts of grants, the calculator is not very accurate. I put in a few different scenarios, with 6+ family members, 2 in college, $70k income and got cost to be $5500, and then changed it to 4 family members, 1 in college, and over $100k in income and it only increased to $12k. I don’t see how that is even true if they say the average for OOS students is $17k (so that would assume for all $12k’s there are some $25k’s too, and who would they be if the number for the ‘typical’ OOS family of 4 with one in college is coming out of the NPC at $12k?)

Yes that’s what I was afraid of. I spend over an hour on the phone getting transferred from person to person asking questions about the NPC and got nowhere. Still he may apply since his scores and gpa are within range.

Their NPC is purposely deceiving because it says:

Estimated total grant aid:
(Includes both merit and need based grant and scholarship aid from Federal, State, or Local Governments, or the Institution)

This is just a ruse to get more apps so that they can be more selective. It’s assuming that the student might get a large merit scholarship for high stats. Their words are boilerplate, which means that words like “fed, state, or local gov’t,” is including those who’d qualify for Pell grants, Tenn HOPE, etc.

Their scholarship mention would really only apply to those who have strong test scores for that school.

In another thread, you indicated that your son’s test scores are quite modest. It is highly unlikely that they’d be awarding much/any merit unless his ACT test scores jumped by 8-12 points

Thank to those of you who jumped in with more info. Yes, we are in MD and only UMD-CP and UMBC have his major-mechanical engineering.

He is open to going anywhere in the country so location isn’t an option. Basically he has a 3.44 unweighted gpa and a 1100 sat/22 SAT.

I am making a list of schools where he falls in the mid-50% but many of them are still showing upwards of $30,000 net cost from the NPC. We are banking on need based aid since we already know he won’t likely get merit. Can anyone recommend ANY other schools that are generous with need based aid? I feel like I am literally looking up any college I have heard the name of and running the NPC but it’s like a needle in a haystack…

Morgan State also has mechE but it’s a HBCU

I know that you’re chasing need based aid, but I don’t see where he’d get accepted to such a school. The ones that give great need based aid would require much higher stats, particularly to get into eng’g.

What is wrong with UMBC? Or going to a CC first, demonstrating strength, and then going to UM-CP? He’s taken Calc 1 and 2. Why not see how he does in Calc 3, DifEQ, and physics with calc 1 and 2, and see if he’s up to the task of MechE.

ADHD, and dysgraphia and reading disabilities. He gets extra time accommodations and a note taker at the college. He has taken Calc 1 and 2 and got C's, Intro to Engeneering-A, and Chem for Engr-C. A's in several Gen Ed classes. In all these classes he has almost a 100% homework, project and lab grade but bombs the tests. <<<<


The concern I have is that you’ve mentioned some of his challenges and they don’t bode well for success in the math demands in MechE.

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Admissions wouldn’t really know PLUS the majority of their students are instate and would qualify for HOPE, so it likely is accurate for THOSE students.

Are there 7 kids in the 9 member family? Is the sibling in college an undergrad?

mom2collegekids, there is nothing at all wrong with UMBC or going to CC first and then transferring. Those are the most realistic options. We were simply looking for other options. You said Morgan has MechE, but it is HBCU. What is that? I’m not familiar with that acronym. And I can’t find MechE on their website anywhere. I’m not sure where you saw that.

HBCU means Historically Black Colleges and universities. Many still have a very high black population, but others are more diverse.

Morgan State is a very nice school, convenient to Towson and Baltimore.

Oh, ok. I knew it was a predominantly black college but didn’t know what the acronym was. Anyway, they don’t have MechE. Thanks anyway.

Sorry about the confusion. Another website listed Morgan state as having MechE

Anyway…I think since need based aid is needed, he should go to a CC first and do the best he can. Then transfer to a school that won’t require his test scores and will give better need based aid.

Morgan State has civil, electrical, and industrial engineering (not mechanical):

I know that OP is still searching for a good fit school with everything - mech engineering, merit or financial aid, not too far from home, accepting with lower stats, and I hope she finds it. But there is going to come a time when some compromises need to be made. Maybe industrial engineering would work? Maybe 2 years at Morgan State with a plan to transfer to College Park or UMBC?

Nephew went to TN Tech (Magnum Cum Laud, CS) - he was in state and had the state level scholarship - don’t remember what they call it there, but it was from lottery money/funding for college education (needed ACT 29 and 3.5 or better HS GPA). I know people that went to TN Tech - all were fairly high stat students, and in-state. Nephew wouldn’t consider looking at UT (Knoxville); he liked the smaller tighter knit campus/program. He spent his entire life in the south with most in TN. I would warn a student not going to a very large southern school (where there are many more students typically from all over) that a school like TN Tech may be a culture shock for them or they are too much of an outsider. I don’t think based on the info on this thread that the ‘merit’/scholarship level is accurate for OOS student based on the stats provided; even high stat kid I doubt would get that kind of $$ from TN Tech.

I agree about going CC or local college route first - even w/o ME degree program. Kids change majors all the time, may develop other interests, and also want to go where the money holds out better and less college loans - especially with this family size/budget. Also if the student doesn’t complete - don’t want the higher school loans.

As they say, if it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. And correct about talking to right people at the school - admissions wouldn’t know some of what was asked.