Two sites help families figure out college costs before enrolling

LatinaLista — With school almost finished for this school year, most families of high school seniors who are eyeing college, whether it be an university or community college, are trying to figure out how much it’s really going to cost them.

With news that student loan debt has reached $1 trillion, surpassing credit card and auto-loan debt, knowing college costs beforehand can help tremendously in making a budget.

Yet, while it’s helpful to know what the college costs are, it’s even more helpful to compare different colleges and see what it would cost to go to a variety of schools. Two new sites sponsored by the federal government make the grade on keeping colleges transparent about their costs: The US Dept. of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Paying for College Cost Comparison Worksheet.

Both sites let users enter the names of the colleges of their choice and compare the costs. On the Dept. of Education’s site, there is even a section on what it would cost for career and technical schools and a handy chart showing how much tuition has increased at major schools in each state in all classifications — private, public 4-year, public 2-year, private not-for-profit, etc.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s site is still in Beta and developers are still working out the kinks but it does a good enough job to give an idea. Their site even allows for veterans to include whatever discounts they’re eligible for towards tuition to include in the calculations.

Getting a college degree is all about preparing for the future. Knowing what the college costs are beforehand is all about being able to finish what is started.

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2 Comments

  1. Credit Card Blog said:

    CFPB’s tool for estimating and comparing tuition costs is very helpful, but when I did a cost comparison for three schools, it became immediately clear that far more important is being able to get some kind of a financial aid.  So in my comparison, the sticker price for MIT ($55,270) was much higher than the one for the average four-year private non-profit university ($42,224).  However, when you subtracted the average grants and scholarships, the average private school overtook MIT by a wide margin ($26,694 vs. $18,644).  For more: http://blog.unibulmerchantservices.com/does-calculating-your-debt-help-reduce-it.

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