The Financial Aid Calculator for College

Did you know that you could calculate what college will cost?

Aware of the ever-rising cost of college and to promote cost transparency, the federal government instituted an October 2011 deadline for colleges to post a net-price calculator on their sites. As reported in this article published on, the calculators have been eye opening to high school students like Shawnia Johnson leading her to modify her college list and begin to focus on working and saving more. For senior Adithya Balaji, the calculators were a great stress relief: "Going into the final stretch without having any idea what to expect [in terms of financial aid] would be really stressful. The calculators are useful in setting real expectations."

While awareness of the calculators, as well as their visibility on college sites, must be improved, it is a step forward towards making the application process less tense. As Brian Lindeman, financial aid director at Macalester College puts it, “Applying for financial aid can be a very mysterious process. This is a great way to get an early visual estimate of what paying for college might look like."