Total Cost of Attendance Comparison Calculator

As you decide which college you will attend, it is important to take into account the Total Cost of Attendance and the Net Price at each school to help determine which is the most affordable and best fit for you. To help you with this comparison, we’ve created a utility in Microsoft Excel, the Total Cost of Attendance Comparison Calculator. You can download it here:

In order to understand the true pricetag of your education, you need to not just consider tuition, but rather view the whole picture of your total “Cost of Attendance.”  This is the total annual cost to attend college, taking into account tuition, room and board, books and supplies and other fees.

Once you add up all of the items included in your Cost of Attendance, the number can appear overwhelming.  But luckily, it’s rare that students in need of financial assistance will be required to pay the full Cost of Attendance.  Those who apply for financial aid will often qualify for at least some form of assistance from the school, typically in the form of scholarships, grants, or loans.

At the end of the day, most students often end up paying what is called the “Net Price” to attend the school of their choice, which is the Cost of Attendance minus all Financial Aid that the school awards them.  For many students, there might also be “outside” scholarships and grants available from their state or from a third party foundation/charity.

Please take a moment to read the instructions at the bottom of the spreadsheet to learn how to use it properly. Also note that this guide is intended to help you compare the estimated total cost of attending colleges, but it is not a guarantee of how much you will pay at any given school.

We hope you find this worksheet useful, and please leave any questions or comments below in the discussion forum.