Calculators

Figure Out What Your Education is Really Going to Cost

Every student loan provider’s website has a loan calculator, and there is a confusing array of different types of calculators on those sites.  The calculators are typically tuition calculators, student loan calculators and college saving calculators. What do each one of these calculators show you?

College Tuition Calculators

Tuition calculators show you what your tuition will be in a particular year in the future. This calculator returns estimated cost calculations based on a combination of data, including historical and trend data. Sometimes these utilities can even estimate textbook costs. These figures are a valuable rough estimate of  the four-year cost of tuition.

To begin, try the College Cost Finder at CNNMoney.com or the College Board’s College Cost Calculator (www.netpricecalculator.collegeboard.org).  The College Board’s calculator takes the cost of tuition at the particular college you choose, the average tuition inflation rate and the amount you expect to have saved to estimate how much you may need to borrow to attend this college.

Student Loan Calculators

Most students will need to take out at least two loans, both Federal and private. These loans carry borrowing costs, which are the interest they accrue and the fees that come with the loans.  Student loan calculators figure what your loans are really going to cost.

If you are about to begin repayment or are already in repayment, the CNN Money student loan calculator is a good choice. It gives you a current picture of your loans. When you put in your total loan amount along with the interest rate, you can adjust your monthly payment figures to calculate how long it could take  you to pay off your loans.

FinAid.org also has a useful loan calculator on their site, www.finaid.org/calculators.

College Savings Calculators

College savings calculators enable you to figure how much you could potentially save before college and how those savings could impact the amount you would finally need to borrow.

FinAids’ Savings Plan Designer (www.finaid.org/calculator) and Savings Growth Projector (www.finaid.org/savings) help you set up your college savings accounts so that your contributions to them are on schedule with your projected education expenses.

The Federal Student Aid Budget Calculator (www.edirect.ed.gov/calc) helps you clearly see your monthly expenses.