I’m assuming different schools use different items to calculate price so (correct me if I’m wrong I beg you) I’m assuming there’s no universal calculator that you stick all your information into and can have multiple schools pop up, but is there anyway to streamline this process? I really need to look into this soon but my dad isn’t exactly the patient type and I’d like to make this as pain free as possible for him being he is my only custodial parent.
The best Net Price Calculators are the ones on each school’s individual web site. There are some general calculators out there but they don’t have the FA or merit aid cut lines the school calculators will have. The best thing you can do for him is see if you can get some general numbers to use and when you narrow down the search he can use the more specific ones.
The NPCs are not that troublesome, once you’ve done a couple to see what inputs they require. It’s a great idea, right now, for you and your dad to run the NPCs for an in-state public and a private that you think you might end up applying to, just to get your bearings on cost. Then make sure your shortlist of schools matches your requirements very well, before you get Pops involved again to run the NPCs.
Do you have a shortlist right now? How many schools are on it?
As long as you have a general idea of the information you need to input, the process of going through the NPCs will be quicker. Don’t overwhelm yourselves by putting your info into 15+ NPC’s. Pick like two and go from there to see how your financials will work out.
Sign up at collegedata. You can save your basic financial info and it will ballpark what each college will cost you. Then you can go get a better estimate at each school’s NPC. Also a lot of the NPCs use saved info from college board so they don’t take too long to run.
@Dunboyne I have a list of roughly 20 that I need to narrow down to approximately 8 to 10 and Thank you all for suggestions!
A fair number of the calculators are actually run at the College Board website. So if you run any of those, you are given the option of creating a login, and saving your data to use when you run another institution’s NPC. I don’t know if there is a master list somewhere inside that website.
Other calculators are truly proprietary, and you will have to input the data directly at that college/university’s website.
Do remember that if your family owns any property other than the family home, if there has been a divorce (and possibly remarriage), or if someone in the family owns a business, the NPCs may produce inaccurate results. So make certain that your child has at least one place on his/her list that you know for dead certain will be affordable, and where you know for dead certain your child can be admitted.
Enjoy the ride!
There’s a website that I used called www.costoflearning.com that developed a universal net price calculator. They use data from each school’s IPEDS filings and the school’s NPC to come up with net prices for multiple colleges at the same time. Here’s a review of the costoflearning web site: “A New Tool to Measure College Cost”.
Don’t mean to hijack this thread. But do schools that award merit scholarships generally include stats info such as ACT and SAT as part of the NPC? I know Tulane does this but I haven’t run enough NPCs to know if this is typical.
The meet-full-need schools NPCs are clearly based on FAFSA and CSA but do the schools that have merit awards include this in the NPC or do students find out when they are admitted and hope for the best through the process? Or does the just vary from school to school?
I am assuming the OP does have some cost concerns as do many people.
@txstella that is usually in indicator to you that the NPC will be more accurate. I’ve read of some that don’t ask for stats and still project some kind of merit aid. I don’t know how. So it varies by school.
Seems similar to http://www.collegeabacus.org , which web scrapes colleges’ net price calculators so that you can do more at one time.
With such a situation, one can make a pessimal estimate in the net price calculator by doing the following:
- Include the income and assets of both parents and their current spouses (if any), unless the college specifically states that only the custodial parent is considered (or uses only FAFSA).
- For small businesses and rental real estate, use revenue rather than net income since some colleges remove business and rental real estate deductions.
Several schools have guaranteed merit aid for students who exceed certain GPA and/or SAT/ACT thresholds. In my experience, such guaranteed merit aid is built into (at least many of) those schools’ NPCs.