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About us

College is expensive and the financial aid process is complex. Cost of Learning helps by giving college applicants and their families insight and clarity into understanding the net price of college. And, our net price calculator enables you to instantly compare net prices to other colleges you may be considering. The net price of college is the most useful measure to compare across multiple institutions and is the primary piece of information we provide.

Net Price

The net price of college is the full cost of attendance less any grants and scholarships that you receive from that college. (The cost of attendance is the full list or sticker price for one year of full-time college and includes other items such as travel, books, and personal expenses, in addition to tuition, room, and board.) Loans and work/study funds are not deducted from the COA to determine the net cost. Use the net price of college to compare across multiple colleges.

Our Data

Our data is derived from two sources — the net price calculators provided by colleges at their website and the IPEDS database (Integrated Postsecondary Education Database System) that is collected by the National Center for Education Statistics. We add a layer of proprietary data analysis and modeling to ensure the data is as consistent and comparable as possible.

Expected Family Contribution

Expected family contribution (EFC) is the critical number to understand during the financial aid process. It is an assessment of your family’s financial strength and status as determined by the submission of your family’s financial information in the FAFSA form. Essentially, it is the federal government’s best guess of what your family can afford to contribute to one year’s worth of college costs. The EFC does not determine how much you will pay at any college but its value is used by colleges to make their own financial aid determinations.