NMSU net price calculator gives prospective student glimpse of financial costs

October 28, 2011 by Audry Olmsted, NMSU News Center

How much is it going to cost you to attend college? Wouldn’t it be nice to have an estimate before you show up for your first class ever as a freshman?

By Oct. 29, universities around the U.S. must implement a net price calculator on their websites that can tell prospective and current students just that. New Mexico State University has had its NPC in place for a year now as an extra resource for students as they plan financially for their future.

“Choosing where to go to college is an important financial decision for students and their families,” said Janie Merchant, interim co-director of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services.

“The net price calculator is a tool that allows students and their families to easily get an early estimate of the ‘net price’ of the cost of attendance – minus grants and scholarships – to help them make informed decisions.”

The requirement for the net price calculator is in accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, which states postsecondary institutions that participate in Title IV federal student aid programs and enroll full-time, first-time degree or certificate-seeking undergraduate students must have this resource available on their websites.

When students access the NPC, they answer a variety of questions about their dependency status, their estimated cost of attendance and their expected family contribution. This individual data is combined with information from the institution on the price of attendance and the median amount of grants and scholarships accepted by prospective students and the NPC then calculates the estimated net price.

Merchant said there are resources provided by the U.S. Department of Education that help students and their families determine their aid eligibility. However, these resources do not provide the individualized cost of attendance for schools to offer an estimated net price.

“The reception from students so far has been very positive,” Merchant said. “We had already received hundreds of inquiries and anticipate even more as it becomes known across the states.”

The link to access the net price calculator is on NMSU’s financial aid webpage at http://fa.nmsu.edu. Students can access the calculator by clicking on “Net Price Calculator.”

For more information on the net price calculator, contact Financial Aid and Scholarship Services at 575-646-4105.

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