The Net Price Calculator (NPC) is required on every college website. (It’s much like an online mortgage calculator. )
Here’s the thing. The NPC, like many other areas of the website, are not necessarily constantly updated by a paid on staff web designer. Unlike simply changing the dollar amounts of tuition and room costs, the calculator is a little more complicated and requires actual programming “behind” the page.
That said, many NPC’s can be as much as 2 years old. However, the results it spits out shouldn’t be more than a few thousand off (in the college’s favor) from the actual financial aid offer. I always ask my parents to take a screenshot of their input data and the final output (with the college URL at the top.) That way, if there is a huge difference in what is offered you at least have something to discuss in the appeal.
Just remember that colleges that offer few merit scholarships may not include that possibility in the NPC and your teen could be offered more.
Using the NPC is your first indication if a college is in your family budget.
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