Report: Improve Net Price Calculators for Student Success


The Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn AHEAD) recently released a new research brief that examines the usability and usefulness of university Net Price Calculators (NPCs).

The brief offers recommendations for colleges and universities that will help ensure prospective students have accurate and transparent information on college costs.

“Students who underestimate costs may drop out of college for financial reasons before attaining a degree, while students who overestimate costs may not apply to schools they can actually afford,” Laura Perna, executive director of Penn AHEAD, said in a news release.

The recommendations include steps such as:

  • Making the NPC available and easy to find online
  • Make sure the estimates accurately reflect a prospective student’s circumstances
  • Offering next steps for students after using the NPC

“Institutions can make simple, integral improvements to NPCs so prospective students have more accurate and easy-to-understand information on the costs of college,” Perna said.

Read the full brief and explore NACAC’s resources for financing college in our Knowledge Center.

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s senior communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at