New Government Regulations Require Schools Provide Financial Calculators

By October 29, it will hopefully be easier for families to better gauge the actual price of higher education.

As required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, all institutions receiving Title IV federal student aid will be required to display an online “net price calculator” to help compute the actual cost of a college degree. Such online tools give prospective students a more accurate estimate of how much college will cost after taking into account scholarships and grants. That final figure is typically much lower than an institution’s published sticker price.

The net price calculator is required for all Title IV institutions that enroll full-time, first-time degree- or certificate-seeking undergraduate students.

Institutions may meet this requirement by using the U.S. Department of Education’s Net Price Calculator template or by developing their own customized calculator that includes, at a minimum, the same elements as the Department’s template.

US Dept of Education’s Net Price Calculator Template

The Department’s template is made up of two components: (1) the institutional data maintenance application and (2) the user application.
In the first component, institutions input the following data:

  • Price of attendance
  • Median amounts of grant and scholarship aid awarded to, and accepted by, first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking students by EFC range

In the second component, users are asked nine questions to establish the following:

  • Their dependency status
  • Their estimated cost of attendance
  • Approximated EFC

The template uses a “look-up” table populated with data from the FAFSA applications database to identify a median EFC. Median EFC is then matched with the median grant and scholarship aid amount entered by the institution for the corresponding EFC range to determine the student’s estimated amount of total grant aid. Estimated net price is calculated by subtracting estimated total grant aid from the estimated total price of attendance.

SKA hopes that this information will prove useful as you prepare and make your financial plans for school enrollment.

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