Report Critiques Net Price Calculators
March 23, 2011
As the October 2011 deadline approaches for colleges and universities to post net price calculators on their Web sites, a new report by the Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) provides a critique of the calculators developed by some early adopters and offers recommendations for making them more useful for prospective students. "Adding It All Up: An Early Look at Net Price Calculators" includes examples of calculators and discusses their strengths and limitations.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 mandated that all institutions develop and post net price calculators to help students and families understand their likely out-of-pocket expenses for higher education. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) was charged with developing a template that institutions can choose to use or modify if they wish. Institutions are also free to develop their own model, or adopt one of several developed by third-party service providers. By law, the deadline was set at two years after NCES released its template, or October 29, 2011.
The TICAS report recommends that colleges:
- Make the calculators easy to find, providing prominent links on pages that prospective students are likely to visit.
- Limit the number of required answers, clearly marking which are required, and keeping questions simple.
- Make results easy to understand and compare by emphasizing the "net price" figure (full cost of attendance minus grants and scholarships), not what's left after subtracting work-study and loans.
- Make it clear that submitting personal contact information is optional, and protect users' privacy.
Net price calculators were also one of the subjects of a hearing held by the Federal Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance on March 17.
- NCES Net Price Calculator Template
- #24 The New Institutional Net Calculator Requirement in HEOA An audio recording and slides from a session at ED's Fall 2010 Federal Student Aid Conference
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs
- NACUBO Expresses Concerns with ED Proposal to Expand Federal Financial Responsibility Rules
- IRS Proposes Modifications to 1098-T Reporting
- ED Policy to Require Annual Student Aid Compliance Audits Beginning FY17
- 2016 Planning and Budgeting Forum
September 19-20, 2016
- 2016 Big Opportunities for Small Institutions
September 20-21, 2016
- 2016 Tax Forum
September 25-27, 2016
- ON-DEMAND: The CBO's Role in Diversity and Inclusion on Campus
- ON-DEMAND: The Clery Act: Strategic Planning to Mitigate Institutional Risk
- ON-DEMAND: Title IX: Key Issues Surrounding Institutional Compliance
- ON-DEMAND: NACUBO Live! Higher Education Accounting Forum
- ON-DEMAND: Responsibility Center Management: Two Different Perspectives