Video on how to use the Net Price Estimates and the Cost Comparison
Read this blog about how net price estimates drives college planning to a new height.
Net Price Estimates
The goal of the Net Price Estimates is to allow students to see and compare a forecasted financial outlook for schools on the My Colleges and Interested Colleges list before applying to the schools. This will help ensure the student is applying to colleges that are affordable for the family.
The Net Price Estimates uses the financial data reported by the college and the student's EFC to predict financial aid awards and total cost for colleges the student has on either the My Colleges or Interested Colleges lists.
The Average Need Based Financial Aid Package, like all averages, is just a data point to provide some insight into what the college offers students. The Anticipated Need Based Financial Aid Package is more targeted in that it takes the student's EFC into consideration along with the average percent of need met. Note that actual financial aid package awarded takes much more into consideration. The Net Price Rating and Need Based Award Potential star ratings at the top provide insight into which colleges may offer the strongest financial aid award package.
The only input that can be controlled in these calculations is the student's FM EFC. (Federal Methodology - Expected Family Contribution) If the EFC Calculator is completed, then the FM EFC that is the result of this survey is used in these calculations. If the EFC Calculator survey has not been complete, then the FM EFC that is in the student's profile will be used. If neither the survey or the profile contains a FM EFC, then the college data that can be shown will still be available.
While looking at the Net Price Estimates, the college name link under the college selection boxes can be clicked to open a new tab with additional information about the college. More details on the total cost of attendance and the estimated financial aid packages can be seen in the College Information detail in the Financial Aid section, including the graphs.
Up to 4 colleges can be selected and compared at one time. If more than 4 are to be compared, the print button can be used to save a PDF or create a hardcopy.
Learn more about Net Price Estimates:
The Cost Comparison tool is similar to the Net Price Estimates, but these are done after decisions are added in Decision Details for each college and so the numbers are based on actual financial aid awards offered to the student rather than college reported data.
Read more about cost comparisons.
I like the tool, but I do not like the ratings. The ratings are good for only need based aid families. For families with high EFC numbers, the ratings are sometimes the opposite you have listed. For example, Boston Univ. has a rating of 4 stars. This is great for need only students because they meet almost 100% need. However, a family that has an EFC of $70,000 will not receive any need based aid from Boston Univ. Moreover, Boston Univ. only give out 4% in merit aid. So this student more than likely will be paying the full cost of tuition. I would not recommend this school for a good financial fit, unless the parents are willing and able to pay the full $455,000 of college cost. I think the ratings are misleading and should not be included, unless you also include an additional ratings for % of merit and average amount of merit aid given per student.
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