7. A Revolutionary Calculator

Net price calculators are going to be as revolutionary as US News & World Report’s college rankings.

—Kathy Dawley, president/CEO of Maguire Associates, a higher-ed consulting firm

How much is a college going to cost me?

If you direct that question to an admission rep at a college fair or during a campus visit, be prepared to hear something like this:

“If you’re interested in our school, you should definitely apply. We have scholarships ranging from a few thousands dollars a year to full-rides.

When families hear these encouraging words—or a variation of them—they often become optimistic. Wow! There’s money for my teenager at this school. Wouldn’t it be great if she could get a full-ride scholarship?

There is a huge ...

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