Of all the considerations parents and students examine during the college search process, cost weighs heavily. Between tuition, fees, books, room and board, and factor in loans, financial aid, scholarships, and post-graduation loan payments, it can be difficult to get a comprehensive estimate of the true cost of college.
Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched a beta version of the Financial Aid Comparison Shopper, that helps parents and students “know before they owe, and compare financial aid and student loan options before they make a financial commitment.” While the “Know Before You Owe” portion of the site has already been up for a while, the worksheet comparison shopper is a new feature that complements the rest of its information.
The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper includes data from more than 7,500 schools including vocational schools, community, public, and private colleges and universities. The online tool compares estimated monthly loan payments after graduation; grants and scholarships; estimated post-graduation debt relative to starting salaries; and specific data including graduation, retention, and student loan default rates relative to each school. Student-veterans can also use the “Military Benefit Calculator” to estimate the net price of attending school with the military tuition assistance from the Post- 9/11 GI Bill.
College cost estimations should be available on the website for your school of choice. According to the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, each postsecondary institution that participates in Title IV federal student aid programs was required to post a net price calculator on its website by Oct. 29, 2011.
For more information on college costs, consult these resources:
- Department of Education
- College Board net price calculator
- CNN Money college cost calculator
- New York Times college cost calculator
-Elise Rambaud Marrion @emarrion_cmn