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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launches college cost comparison tool


Thursday, April 12, 2012
Oftentimes, college tuition and the availability of financial assistance play a large role in the college selection process. Once you receive your college acceptance letters you will want to review  the financial aid awards to compare the financial assistance you will receive in relation to the total cost of attendance. This will help to ensure that you can attend college without burying yourself in debt.

Figuring out how much you will pay for college can be a daunting task, but online tools can help make the process a little easier. For instance, any college or university that participates in Title IV federal student aid programs is required by law to provide a net price calculator on its Web site, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an office of the U.S. Government,  launched a prototype of a cost comparison worksheet tool called the Financial Aid Comparison Shopper. The Web site allows you to enter the names of three schools and receive detailed financial information on each one.

The site will provide the first-year sticker price for each school as well as the average grants and scholarships packages and the total borrowing per year based on these figures. You will then enter the financial aid award you’ve received from each school and the contributions you and your parents will make towards your college education to compare the total cost to you and your projected financial burden. You will also get an estimate of your monthly student loan payments once you have graduated.

If you plan to enter college after serving in the military, the tool’s Military Benefit Calculator allows you to enter information that will help CFPB provide you with a better sense of how much you will pay during your first year in college.

"Student loan debt has crossed the $1 trillion mark and tuition continues to climb," said Richard Cordray, CFPB director, as quoted by Reuters. "Our Financial Aid Comparison Shopper helps students make apples to apples comparisons of their offers and pick the one that works best for their financial future."ADNFCR-16000756-ID-800751519-ADNFCR

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