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By egstark
September 25, 2015

Chances are you won’t pay the full sticker price for a college degree. At private schools, 75% of students qualify for at least some institutional aid; at four-year publics, 60% do. So when you’re shopping for a college, what you really want to know is your “net price,” or what you’ll likely pay after factoring in scholarships and grants awarded by the school.

This College Abacus tool will help you estimate the net price for one year at more than 5,000 colleges, based on your personal financial and academic circumstances and the schools’ aid policies. You can compare options from multiple colleges in one place, rather than having to visit each school’s website individually and re-enter your information.

  • To generate your estimates, you’ll select the schools you are interested in and then answer questions about your family finances, which determine your eligibility for need-based financial aid. For some schools, the tool will also prompt you to fill in grades and test scores to gauge eligibility for merit-based grants.
  • Be patient. The estimates are the same ones you’d get by visiting the schools’ websites, only faster and in an easier-to-use format. The typical wait time for College Abacus to transfer your information to the colleges and return results is less than three minutes.
  • Keep in mind that these estimates might not take into account any special circumstances. You won’t know your exact net price until the college admits your student and sends a formal financial aid offer.
  • This tool is provided as a free resource by ECMC, a non-profit educational entity. The information you enter goes solely to College Abacus, not Money, and will never be sold or shared with a third-party. You can find College Abacus’ privacy policy here.
Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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