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Net Cost Calculator

What is a Net Cost Calculator and how does it work?

The net cost calculator measures the financial status of your family and uses other information you provide to estimate the amount of grants, scholarships, and other financial aid that may be available to you.  The calculator produces a "net cost", which is the difference between the calculated amount of aid and the listed cost of attendance.


Why is a Net Cost Calculator a valuable resource?

Historically it has been very difficult for students to determine bottom line costs of attendance for the colleges they are considering.  Just because one school has a higher listed cost of attendance than another school does not mean that it will be more expensive for a given applicant to attend.  The more prestigious the school the more likely it is well endowed and can meet 100% of need.  It is of paramount importance that students and parents have accurate and timely information about college expenses.  In response to substantial demand colleges now offer a net cost calculator to help students approximate the cost of attendance given that students specific financial situation.  


How do Net Cost Calculators differ from one institution to another?

Since every institution is interested in providing a customized approximation of annual costs, there is wide variation among the design of their net cost calculators.  The calculators in the list below have been chosen because they are representative of the different designs you might encounter.  Although some calculators may appear more intimidating or technical than others, the majority take no more than 15 minutes to complete and require little more than your family's Income Tax Returns and Earnings Statements.  

It should be noted that various schools calculators may frame their results differently and often use slightly different financial resources and aid policies within their calculations.  For example, one institution might incorporate historical costs from the previous academic year when approximating the cost of attendance while others use projected costs for the upcoming school year.  Keep in mind that inconsistencies like these can make it difficult to directly compare different schools net prices.  We recommend that you research how each specific institution you are considering attending calculates their net cost and that you use their calculator early and frequently in order to get the best understanding of the estimate.



Below is a brief video that outlines the importance of net cost calculators as well as a few words of advice from a college admissions officer.


Net Cost Calculator Video Overview from Franklin and Marshall VP and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid:


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