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Roy Durnal
Office of Student Financial Assistance

Last modified: Monday, September 12, 2011

IU Office of Enrollment Management launches net price calculator prior to mandated federal deadline

Sept. 12, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Office of Enrollment Management today (Sept. 12, 2011) launched the university's first net price calculator, a tool that will help prospective students to figure out the cost of an IU education. The site is available at:

IU is taking a proactive approach to a federal mandate that requires universities to make this service available by late October of this year. The early launch is intended to coordinate with the recruitment cycle for the 2012 class, said David Johnson, vice provost at the IU Office of Enrollment Management.

"Indiana University has strategies in place to provide need- and merit-based financial aid to help keep IU affordable," Johnson said. "Now, with the introduction of the net price calculator, students and their families can use the calculator to help estimate their net price or cost when considering earning an education at IU. We are very pleased to be able to offer this valuable calculation to assist families in determining their estimated cost to attend IU."

In conjunction with the net price calculator going live online, the Office of Enrollment Management is also launching a campaign to notify prospective students of its availability.

A November 2010 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, "Colleges Weigh How to Estimate Cost to Families," breaks down some of the challenges prospective students and their families face when trying to figure out precisely how much they'll be paying for college.

The Institute for College Access & Success makes recommendations on how to make it easier for students and families to find net price calculators. The institute suggests making links to the calculators visually prominent from multiple places online, particularly pages that prospective students and their families are likely to visit (for example, sites for prospective students or admissions), recommendations that IU has embraced.

A report to the U.S. Congress and Secretary of Education by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance states that in making decisions about college, it is essential that students and parents focus on net price -- the dollar amount that must be paid after subtracting gift aid from cost of attendance. "Throughout the decision making process -- from considering whether college is a financial possibility, to choosing which college to attend, to assessing whether to continue once enrolled -- net price, rather than list price, is of singular importance," read the report. "For most families, particularly low- and moderate-income families, while work and loans are necessary, the most consequential type of assistance is grant aid -- need-based and merit-based -- and the central measure of net price is cost of attendance minus grant aid from all sources."

Roy Durnal, interim director of the Office of Student Financial Assistance, said that one of the most important benefits to implementing the net price calculator is to encourage families to start thinking about the costs associated with a college education as early as possible.

"I think it's important that prospective students and their parents sit down together and complete the questions required for net price calculator," Durnal said. "This provides an opportunity to discuss not only the cost, but also the value of a college education."

IU purchased the tool for creating a customized net price calculator from The College Board; the calculator will be managed by the Office of Student Financial Assistance.