3 Tools to Easily Tell College Affordability and Tuition Price

Every student and family can benefit from adding financial aid into their college search. Why? Because not only do you want to go to a college that has the program your interested in, the social scene and the right academic environment, but you also want it to be affordable. Remember, you shouldn’t have your back against the wall second semester Senior year feeling like your only option for your dream school is to take out at ton of loans (you know the type of “financial aid” you HAVE to pay back?). So take these three simple, easy resources and incorporate them into your college search, in a financially responsible way.

  1. Net Price CalculatorASU Net Price Calc
    • Every college is mandated to have one, which means all you need to do is go directly to your college’s website and access it on their financial aid page (or just in the college website’s search bar type Net Price Calculator.
    • Use this as a rough estimate of your financial aid package from that university. This number is not perfect, but it can give you an idea based off your Expected Family Contribution and what the university is able to traditionally offer.
  2. FAFSA4Caster
    • Families will complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) beginning October 1 of their Senior year. Think of the FAFSA4Caster as another tool similar to the Net Price Calculator to roughly estimate a family’s expected cost financial aid. Access it here FAFSA4Caster
  3. National Center for Education Statistics
    • I love this website. LOVE it. Why? Because it gives
      incredibly useful and detailed information on colleges and universities financial aid offerings. So in depth that you can see not only the percentage of students receiving financial aid, but the breakdown of how much of it is loans, vs. scholarships and grants. Remember, loans qualify as “financial aid” so do not overlook these numbers. Be savvy! Access it here NCES College Navigator

One final tip, because I think this is awesome (I know it’s beyond three, but I LOVE resources)…

The Western Undergraduate Exchange is a group of institutions in the western states that offer a hefty reduced tuition rate for out-of-state students making out-of-state an accessible option! A few
things to know:

  • Check the website for qualifications on WUE requirements.
  • In California we hear the “impacted” term a bit (there’s more students than spaces available so programs can be competitive and limiting), a good portion of these colleges have direct-entry programs with a nice low tuition rate…check them out!
  • Be open and explore! It can never hurt to research before you rule out an option.

Western Undergraduate Exchange

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