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Understand College Costs

Sticker Price

The Total Cost of Attendance (COA) for one year of college attendance as determined by each institution’s financial aid office  includes:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Housing (room and board)
  • Books and supplies
  • Transportation
  • Personal expenses

Net Price

Net price is the COA minus any financial assistance received in the form of gift aid and educational tax benefits.

  • Gift aid does not need to be repaid and is typically comprised of federal grants, state grants, institutional grants, and scholarships.
  • Education tax benefits are tax credits, deductions, and savings plans, such as a state 529 plan.

The net price is closer to what a student will actually pay to attend that institution.

The average net price appears in all college profiles in Naviance Student and is based on data from IPEDS, a website managed by the U.S. Department of Education. To obtain a better estimate of a college's net price, the student can choose one of five income bands into which their family falls. For example, a student who estimates a family income of $30,000 will see a different average net price for an institution than a student estimating a family income of $50,000.

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