Publication Date: February 27, 2013
Subject: Guidance on Implementing the Net Price Calculator Requirement
Summary: This letter provides guidance pertaining to the Net Price Calculator requirement added to the Higher Education Act by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. This letter highlights responses to recurring questions that institutions have raised about this requirement.
As required by section 132 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, (HEA) each institution of higher education that participates in the title IV, HEA programs must post on its Web site a net price calculator that is designed to help current and prospective students, families, and other consumers estimate a student's individual net price at that institution based on what students in similar circumstances paid in a previous year. In meeting this requirement, institutions may develop their own net price calculator or use the template developed by the Department of Education (the Department), which is available at our Net Price Information Center Web site at http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/resource/net_price_calculator.asp.
The net price calculator requirement is statutory and has no implementing regulations; however, the Department has compiled relevant frequently asked questions (FAQs) based on responses that we have provided to individual institutions. We have posted these FAQs on the Net Price Information Center as a resource for institutions, and we periodically update the list of FAQs as needed. The following are a few recurring FAQs and our posted responses:
When and how often do colleges have to update their net price calculators?
Where on my institution's Web site should the net price calculator reside?
Can I rename the Net Price Calculator when posting it to my institution's Web site?
Is there a minimum number of full-time, first-time students for which a Net Price Calculator is required?
Can I include loans in the net price calculator?
The National Center for Education Statistics collects the Web addresses for institutional net price calculators through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and these URLs are subsequently displayed on the Web sites for the College Navigator (http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/) and the College Affordability and Transparency Center (http://collegecost.ed.gov/). The URLs are also displayed as part of the Department's College Scorecard tool, accessible at http://collegecost.ed.gov/scorecard/index.aspx. Institutions must ensure that the URLs that they provide for their net price calculators are functional and that they link directly to the institution's net price calculator, instead of, for example, to the institution's Web site home page. A downloadable zip file containing the full list of net price calculator URLs is available at the Net Price Calculator Information Center.
We encourage institutions to review the FAQs and other materials that are currently available at the Net Price Calculator Information Center Web site. We also strongly urge schools to review the URL that they have provided to IPEDS for accuracy. Correct and consistent information that is easy to find will make it easier for millions of students and their families to use this tool when comparing postsecondary institutions.
For additional assistance with the net price calculator requirement or the Department's template, please contact our Help Desk at 1-877-299-3593 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
David A. Bergeron
Acting Assistant Secretary
Office of Postsecondary Education