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Net Price Calculators Help Gauge College Affordability

student's class rank and test scores, the amount parents contributed to their employer retirement plans in the last year, current home equity, or how much parents expect to pay in health-care costs in the coming year. Every college has its own net price calculator, so there may be slight variations in the questions that are asked.

A net price calculator takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Typing "net price calculator" in the search bar of a college's website should direct you to it.

Results can vary. Keep in mind that colleges have different sticker prices and criteria for determining how much grant aid they offer, so calculator results can vary, even when the same financial information is being entered. For example, after entering identical financial information on three different calculators, families might find that College A has a net price of $25,000 per year, College B a net price of $30,000, and College C a net price of $40,000. Running a net price calculator for colleges that are similar in terms of selectivity and sticker price can help families compare the generosity of colleges in a similar peer group.

Consider filing the FAFSA. The FAFSA for the 2022-2023 school year opens on October 1, 2021. Families should consider submitting it even if they don't expect their child to qualify for need-based federal aid, because some colleges may require the FAFSA as a prerequisite for college-provided need-based and/or merit-based grants and scholarships.

Prepared by Broadridge Advisor Solutions Copyright 2021.