Net Price Calculators (NPCs) are a good way to establish what the cost will be for college based on a family’s unique situation. After a family enters in all of their financial particulars, the calculator will generate an estimate taking into account grants, scholarships and aid.
Each college makes available on their website an NPC. Although each college keeps their cost of attendance formulas current, they do not provide an option to cross-compare with other prospective schools. With having to enter financial data only once, a family can compare the overall costs of more than one college within one NPC tool. There are numerous options online and a popular multiple-school comparison NPC is College Board’s “BigFuture”. Visit College Board’s “BigFuture” tools and calculators page for more information.
NPCs are not all the same and vary year to year. Colleges have options when choosing the platform for their NPC. Generally, the fewer the questions asked on an NPC the less accurate the results will be. Also, know that colleges update their types of funding and funding formulas each year. The further the applicant is from enrolling in college the less current the information will be. When populating information on an NPC remember that by law you are allowed to remain anonymous and are not required to enter personal identifying information.