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Net Price Calculator - Monday Musings

By Kathy Kurz on Sep 19, 2011

So, where’s your calculator? And why is it there? If you don’t know, now is a good time to find out.

Tags: financial aid


Welcome to Monday Musings — Scannell & Kurz’s new blog. Each Monday a team member from S&K will share their perspective on a higher education issue. We’ve added some new staff this summer, so be sure to check the team biographies section of our website to meet the rest of the S&K team.

Where's your NPC?So my thought for this first Monday came from the fact that I just spent 20 minutes looking on a client’s website to find a net price calculator (NPC) THAT I KNEW WAS THERE! Somewhere. I finally found it buried on the institutional research office’s website. On the other hand, I’ve seen some institutions post their NPCs on the welcome page of their website. So I was musing about some possible reasons for this different behavior:

  1. Those burying their NPC may have opted for simplicity (à la the federal calculator) over accuracy. They may be concerned that if students use the calculator they won’t get a true picture of the aid they might receive. They will just see average awards.
  2. “Buriers” may fear their awards are less generous than their competitors and they want to have a chance to sell prospective students on the benefits of the institution before they are turned off by the net price. Those putting their NPCs front and center may believe their scholarship program is one of their strongest selling points. However we would say to sell BOTH affordability and value.
  3. Some institutions may not even have discussed where their NPC should be. The aid office may have just quietly gone about the business of complying with the new regulation without involving their admissions and marketing colleagues in a discussion of the options and implications.

So, where’s your calculator? And why is it there? If you don’t know, now is a good time to find out.

Image © iStockphoto.


Kathy KurzAbout the author: Vice President Kathy Kurz's special area of expertise is in developing strategic financial aid and retention programs, designed to enhance enrollment and net tuition revenue results. A former Associate Vice President at the University of Rochester and Director of Financial Aid at Earlham College, she pays special attention to ensuring that the solutions recommended are practical, detailed, and implementable.

Kathy contributes regularly to University Business, authored a chapter entitled The Changing Role of Financial Aid and Enrollment Management in New Directions for Student Services, a Jossey-Bass publication, and speaks at national conferences and seminars such as NACUBO, Academic Impressions, and CIC.

Connect with Kathy on LinkedIn.


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