8 Free Tools to Calculate Your Cost for College

We all know college is expensive, but what we all really want to know is what college will cost for us, right?

These 8 tools found in a recent article from U.S. News & World Report will help you do just that – and it doesn’t matter whether your child is in high school, or diapers – it’s never too early to start planning!

1. The College Board’s Cost Calculator

(Photo Credit: Balancing The Account via photopin (license))

This is a great calculator for families with young children, as it allows you to enter today’s cost for college (or select one of the averages provided), and the number of years until your child is expected to enter college, and tells you how much college will likely cost in the year your child graduates high school. (Note: These numbers aren’t pretty! Better start planning now if you’re having a baby soon!)

2. The College Scorecard

This is a U.S. Department of Education website that allows students to research schools based on cost, graduation rates, borrowing amounts, majors, location, and more, to help students narrow down a list of prospective schools to apply to, and find the ones that will be the best fit for them.

3. Financial Aid Comparison Tool

This tool comes from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and it allows students to compare financial aid packages received from up to 3 different universities, to find the one that gives the best “bang for the buck.” It helps students calculate estimated loan debt at graduation, as well as projected monthly repayment amounts, and more.

4. The FAFSA4Caster

Another U.S. Dept. of Education website, this one allows you to calculate your family’s EFC (Expected Family Contribution) by entering family data such as income, tax information, and number of family members, to help you determine your student’s eligibility for federal student aid.

5. The EFC Calculator

This is another calculator provided by The College Board, that allows you to input family data to determine your Expected Family Contribution and get an idea of how much you will be expected to pay for college.

6. Net Price Calculators

Many schools provide net-price calculators to help families determine how much the specific college is likely to cost them in total. However, these calculators are sometimes hard to use for comparison, as each particular school may ask for different information. Nonetheless, they can sometimes be helpful, although somewhat hard to find. The link above provides a list of net price calculators at about 300 different schools in the U.S..

7. The Federal Student Aid Repayment Estimator

This calculator uses loan and income information to help students compare monthly and total repayment amounts, length of repayment, loan forgiveness options, and more for federal student loan payment programs.

8. The Repay Student Debt Tool

This questionnaire from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides recommendations and resources for student borrowers depending on their student loan situation.

Check out these tools to help you make informed decisions when deciding which schools to apply to – and remember we have lots of helpful resources available as well.

If you need help with the college planning process, please contact us anytime at 614-536-0246, or visit our college planning website and register for one of our FREE college planning workshops!


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