There is a great deal of talk about a college’s sticker price versus net price. What does that mean? Sticker price is what a college or university reports as its total cost (tuition, room & board, books, fees, etc.), whereas net price is the cost to a student after factoring for financial aid and scholarships.
 
So the formula looks like this:
 
Sticker price - financial aid and scholarships = net price
 
Net price is important. Many colleges and universities will initially seem to cost the same, however further investigation reveals significantly different net prices. So how does one go about investigating a college’s net price? Easy.
 
You can access reliable information via College Navigator, operated by the National Center for Education Statistics. On the left you can search for individual colleges by name or multiple colleges with advanced search options. Once you navigate to the page of a specific institution, click the fourth category: “Net Price”. Here you’ll find average net price for the entire undergraduate population, and net price specific to family income range.
 
All types of need-based aid and scholarship monies factor into these net prices. Remember, each family presents varied financial circumstances, yet this tool can illuminate the generosity of an institution.
 
Contact your college counselor if you need additional help understanding financial aid.