The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a new tool out that allows students to compare the cost of 3 different colleges at the same time. For those of you not familiar with the CFPB, it is a division of the US Government that helps people understand financial issues.
The tool is very simple to use. You enter up to 3 different colleges and it tells you the cost of each college along with the average financial aid from that college. This is good information but really not that helpful. You can also drill down to find out the graduate rate and retention rate for each college. That is somewhat more helpful.
But where this new tool is the most helpful is where it allows you to enter your specific financial aid award from each college and compare the real costs of attending the various colleges. It tells you what your debt payments will be when you complete school so you can start to get a realistic idea of what the long term costs will be.
This time of year, when students are pondering their options and trying to evaluate various financial aid awards that are inconsistent in format, a tool like this can really provide some clarity. And anything that provides clarity in the world of college financial aid is a good thing.