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College Board Pilots Net Price Calculator

How much will college really cost? That's what the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 is requiring colleges and universities to help families figure out. It mandates schools develop a net price calculator to help students get a clear picture of the cost of college at a specific institution before the student applies.

Yesterday, the College Board announced the piloting of a net price calculator for college and university adoption. A diverse group of 20 institutions are testing the calculator, including community colleges, small liberal arts colleges, and large public and private research universities. The calculator is customized for each college using the service.

With the calculator, a student or parent provides basic financial information (which remains confidential) and the college provides the likely amount of grants, scholarships, and other financial aid available to them at the school. The hope is to make the financial aid process more transparent and help with a family's financial planning.

There will be a subscription fee for the service, but the cost for the net price calculator has not been finalized.

College Board joins other companies, such as StudentAid.com, in offering net price calculator technology services to families and institutions.

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