Net Price Calculator

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (H.R. 4137) mandates that all postsecondary institutions participating in Title IV federal student aid programs provide a "net price calculator"with the goal:

"to help current and prospective students, families and other consumers estimate the individual net price of an institution of higher education for a student. The calculator shall be developed in a manner that enables current and prospective students, families, and consumers to determine an estimate of a current or prospective student's individual net price at a particular institution." (P.L. 110-315, sec 132 (h)(1).

The Department of Education released a general template that universities could use to meet this requirement. The formulas in this template combine all institutional, federal, and state grant programs into one line item in the formula.

How does it work:

U.S. Department of Education Net Price Calculator Template

The Department’s template is made up of two components: (1) the institutional data maintenance application and (2) the user application.
In the first component, institutions input the following data:

  • Price of attendance
  • Median amounts of grant and scholarship aid awarded to, and accepted by, first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking students by EFC range

In the second component, users are asked nine questions to establish the following:

  • Their dependency status
  • Their estimated cost of attendance
  • Approximated EFC
The template uses median range award data based on user input to calculate the "estimate".