Tools for Selecting a College and Comparing Costs

College graduates in profile.

Finding the right school that fits your needs can be a confusing and complicated process. Where can you get the most for your education dollars? Which school gives you the most flexibility in your chosen field of study? Does the school offer financial aid that you can use? What about transfer credits, ACE recommended credits, or credit-by exam credits? Does it all make your head spin? Don't worry, help is just a click away - tools that can help manage the overwhelming information and get answers to your questions. Here are a few:

College search made easy

Have you heard of the Department of Education's (ED) College Affordability and Transparency Center's College Scorecard? The College Scorecard is a very user friendly way to search for a college that is a good fit for you, just search the college name of choice and press enter. The system will populate the scorecard with typical attendance costs, graduation rate, loan default rate, amount borrowed for undergraduate study, and employment options upon graduation. Your search can also be customized based on selected options, such as college location, type of college, and areas of interest.

Cost of an education

The ED Finanical Aid Shopping Sheet is a standardized form that participating institutions will use to assist prospective students and their families better understand the costs of attending an institution before making the final decision on where to enroll. 

Comparing schools

The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper worksheet was created to help students make college comparisons tailored to their individual circumstances. The Web site allows prospective students to enter the names of three schools and receive detailed financial information on each one. The site also provides 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. Once the prospective student enters additional financial aid award information or personal contributions, the program calculates the student's projected financial burden, along with an estimate of any possible monthly student loan payments once the student has graduated.

Take a few minutes to explore these tools and find out more about a college's affordability and value so you can make more informed decisions about which college to attend.

Keep Up With Your Education Benefits 

Whether you need a guide on how to use your GI Bill, want to take advantage of tuition assistance and scholarships, or get the lowdown on education benefits available for your family, can help. Sign up for a free membership to have education tips and benefits updates delivered directly to your inbox.

Show Full Article

Related Topics