The Net Price Calculator Explained For Newbies

What is the Net Price Calculator?

The Net Price Calculator or NPC is a tool designed for students so that they can quickly and easily estimate the actual or “net” price that they have to pay to the college or university they may be attending. Such a tool is required because not every student pays the same amount of money to the institution. There are grants and scholarships of many types; each offering different percentage of fee coverage and therefore the need for a calculating tool arises in order to calculate the net cost one has to pay for a semester or a full year.

The NPC tool also helps students to determine the average Estimated Financial Contribution (EFC) range a student might fall in and how much aid the average person attending the year prior usually received. This particular type of tool is known as Financial Aid Net Price Calculator (FinAid NPC). These aids are offered by specific colleges and they are typically known as need-based grants or merit-based scholarships. These tools come in handy before you choose a college to attend because knowing the fee structure is the top-most priority for almost every student since they have to arrange for a large portion of the fee themselves.

Students may choose to attend other colleges that might be labeled as “expensive” by many fellow students simply because they cannot afford to pay their overall fee. However, after doing some simple calculations using the NPC tool, it is possible to estimate the amount that needs to be paid minus the overhead charges that do not apply. It is therefore highly recommended to use the Net Price Calculator when you are in the process of shortlisting colleges and universities to attend.

The Net Price Calculator Requirement For Schools

According to the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, it is now a requirement for every institution offering undergraduate professional education to students and receiving government aid to set up a net price calculator and post it to the college’s website for students’ assistance. You may visit to get assistance in setting up your own calculator.

This process of posting your net price calculator to the institution’s website is part of the government mandated Net Price Calculator Requirement. The college, school or university offers this tool without any limitations to access because it is required in the act. These calculators need to be updated on an annual basis to include the most recent data regarding scholarships and other financial matters. The act states that the institution must make its net price calculator publicly accessible, which can be achieved only through a website. Because of this reason, every institution must have its own official website in order to fulfill the Net Price Calculator Requirement.

The Net Price Calculator (NPC) Software

The software tool to get an estimate of the total college expenses a student is likely to pay is known as the Net Price Calculator (NPC) software. This tool is usually available online at the college website and does not require downloading of any additional files. However, there is some important information that you need to enter to the tool in order to get proper and correct results of your financial situation.

For your reference we have chosen the Net Price Calculator (NPC) software provided by Harvard College on their official website. Almost every institution that offers higher education has its own net price calculator posted on its website. So, you can simply use the search form on the site to find the calculator or go to it directly using the navigational menu provided at the top. The following fields are required to be duly filled by the student in order to get a rough estimate of the net price:

1. Family Information: This includes citizenship, primary residence and number of family members among other things. Of course it is not possible to enter exact information about your household because it is to be fed to the software tool instead of being reviewed by a real human being. However, it is advisable to choose the best possible option for each field to avoid errors and omissions. You will also be asked to tell whether your parents are divorced, remarried or separated because their financial contribution to your college expenses will be judged accordingly. If the parent is remarried, the income and assets separate from those of the step-parent’s need to be presented.

2. Parental Income: This encompasses total income fields including gross wages or salary, dividend income, business income, real estate income, and other income (if any). You may leave any of these fields empty if it does not apply to you. In the end, the total income is calculated based on the information you entered previously. Remember, if you plan to apply for financial aid at the college, the parental income information you provide should be very accurate. This is because the college administration would request tax forms and other documents to verify this income. So, make sure you enter the exact amounts.

3. Assets: Two types of assets are taken into consideration when determining a student’s eligibility for financial aid or scholarships: student assets and parental assets. If you, as a student, have any asset held in your name, you should mention it here. These may include cash and investment, business equity, real estate equity, or other assets. Once you enter your assets and your parents’ assets, they are summed up to get a total amount pertaining to the total cost of assets you have.

Once you provide all the information required in the above-mentioned fields, the software tool will automatically generate your net price estimate. The figures are based on two parameters: your estimate scholarship and total billed and unbilled costs. The result will display the total cost you need to pay depending on summer work and time-term work as well as student asset contribution and parents’ contribution. The total billed and unbilled costs include tuition and other fees, room and board charges, personal expenses including cost of books, and travel charges if any.

College Board Net Price Calculator

Nowadays all colleges and universities provide this tool to students who wish to start their professional education in order to point out the deserving students as well as provide others with an understanding of how much they are going to need in order to complete their degree without any financial trouble. If you search for the College Board Net Price Calculator, you will be instantly taken to the page where this tool is offered along with any additional information you might need.

However, you should be aware that using such a tool online doesn’t mean you are applying for financial aid. That is a totally different procedure and needs assistance from a professional consultant. You may, however, present the information received as a result of using this tool to the college administration when applying for financial aid. You don’t have to worry about providing any confidential financial information about your family resources because the college or university does not retain your personal data. These points need to be kept in mind when using a College Board Net Price Calculator.

Government Net Price Calculator Template

In order to provide the institutions with a universal scheme for setting up a net price calculator for their website, the government offers a template known as Government Net Price Calculator Template providing a few essential input elements that institutions need in order to get a rough estimate of Expected Family Contribution or EFC. However, it is not obligatory to use this template; the colleges may develop their own set of elements, which may require additional information from the student in order to be more accurate and more precise.

The government has made it a requirement for every institution to make their net price calculators publicly accessible so that students and parents can effectively compare various institutions they have shortlisted for higher education. In the absence of such a calculator, it becomes very difficult for students to determine which college or university is the best suited to their financial circumstances. It also assists them in determining whether they qualify for grants and scholarships or not.

Conclusion: What is the Net Price Calculator?

Higher education is becoming more expensive with the passage of time owing to the competition, the technological advancements and the quality of education being offered. At this level, the students are less likely to be fully dependent on their parents to pay for the tuition fee and boarding charges particularly if they choose to study abroad. The first step in planning and paying for your college education is to calculate the net price that you would need to pay to a specific college or university. The Net Price Calculator (NPC) software tool greatly helps students to get a rough estimate of the actual tuition fee they would be paying to a particular college minus any grants or scholarships for which they might be eligible depending on their merit and financial conditions.

Since the institutions vary greatly in terms of their fee structure as well as grants and scholarships they offer to full-time students, students need a way to estimate the expenses they need in order to complete a calendar year successfully and without any trouble. Use this post as a reference to provide effective information to the institution’s net price calculator and to plan your next year of professional education.

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