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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

ED Releases Net Price Calculator Template

November 18, 2009

The Department of Education has released a template that colleges and universities can use to develop a net price calculator for prospective students. This calculator is designed to help students at all family income levels determine their likely "net price" (total costs minus grant aid) for attending higher education institutions.

Under the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) was charged with developing the template. Within two years, all institutions participating in the federal student aid programs will have to implement this template on their websites or develop a customized version that includes, at a minimum, the same elements as the NCES version.

In passing HEOA, Congress mandated the development of two web-based calculators. NCES was directed to provide a multi-year tuition calculator for each institution, which is now available on its College Navigator website. In addition, higher education institutions that participate in the federal student aid programs were required to provide on their websites a net price calculator, to help current and prospective undergraduates and their families determine their net price of attendance (total cost of attendance minus federal grants and all grants). Based on the information entered by students and their families, the calculator should generate an average net price of attendance based on what students in similar income brackets paid in the previous year. NCES was authorized to develop a template that institutions can use to establish the net price calculator.

NCES developed the calculator template based on the suggestions of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System's Technical Review Panel (TRP), which included 58 individuals representing the federal government, state governments, postsecondary institutions from all sectors, association representatives, and others. To solicit additional feedback on the calculator's development, a 30-day public comment period followed the TRP meeting,


Anne Gross
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs