What is the net price calculator?

December 22nd, 2011 by Jennifer Frankel

Did you ever want to know what the total cost of your education would be as an international student studying in the US? Are you trying to budget properly so that you make smart financial decisions? Curious about the price difference between schools? Now, the US Department of Education is making it easier for you to determine the cost of your education. It’s called, the Net Price Calculator.

So you may be asking yourself, what is the net price calculator? Thanks to the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, the Net Price Calculator was introduced to increase the transparency of how much a student must pay or borrow to enroll. Previously, the cost of education was not all that clear. Adding up all of the costs, like books and living expenses, was difficult to measure.

That’s where the net price calculator comes in. By entering in your personal information, like income, residency, assets, among other details, you can determine approximately what the cost will be to enroll. Tuition and fees, room and board, books and personal expenses, as well as scholarships and grants, are all clearly laid out for you to evaluate on many college and university websites.

Keep in mind, however, that tool has been designed for US students attending US schools so there may be variations in the prices for international students. At the same time, many schools have taken the tool one step further and have adjusted rates for international students. The net price calculator was formally implemented across the United States on October 29, 2011.

While some people are asking what is the net price calculator, others are looking for ways to improve it. Currently, the tool only provides the annual cost so don’t be fooled. If you are going for a four year degree, make sure to multiply the number by 4.

So, if you are an international student, make sure you know what is the net price calculator – and even more importantly, how to use it!

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