Financial wellness

How to estimate the net cost of college (even when it’s a long way off)

May 26, 2022

Online tools can help families estimate net college costs

Location can affect the published price and net cost of college

Even wealthier families may qualify for aid

Expected costs vary significantly by income, assets, and number of children in college
Violin chart presents annual net-cost estimates for colleges by household income and assets for familes with one student in college. The x-axis represents household income. The y-axis represents annual net cost estimate. Total price across the schools ranges from $34,100 to $81,300 with a mean of $74,381. For families with a household income of $75,000, the annual net-cost estimate range those for those with low assets was $5,900 to $44,700 with a mean of $21,522; for those with high assets, it was $9,700 to $48,900 with a mean of $26,519. For families with a household income of $125,000, the estimate range for those with low assets was $16,400 to $56,800 with a mean of $38,139; for those with high assets, it was $22,800 to $61,000 with a mean of $46,452. For families with a household income of $175,000, the estimate range for those with low assets was $33,900 to $71,100 with a mean of $54,758; for those with high assets, it was $34,100 to $79,600 with a mean of $65,419. For families with a household income of $225,000, the estimate range for those with low assets was $34,100 to $79,600 with a mean of $69,533; for those with high assets, it was $34,100 to $81,300 with a mean of $73,327. For families with a household income of $275,000, the estimate range for those with low assets was $34,100 to $81,300 with a mean of $73,877; for those with high assets, it was $34,100 to $81,300 with a mean of $74,195.
The violin chart shows the annual net-cost estimates for colleges by household income and assets for familes with two students in college. The x-axis is household income while the y-axis is the annual net cost estimate. Total price across the schools ranged from $34,100 to $81,300 with a mean of $74,381. For families with a household income of $75,000, the annual net-cost estimate range for those with low assets was $5,200 to $39,400 with a mean of $15,227; for those with high assets, it was $8,000 to $42,200 with a mean of $18,233. For families with a household income of $125,000, the estimate range for those with low assets was $13,000 to $48,200 with a mean of $25,280; for those with high assets, it was $8,200 to $52,000 with a mean of $29,807. For families with a household income of $175,000, the estimate range for those with low assets was $8,050 to $55,300 with a mean of $35,311; for those with high assets, it was $28,300 to $59,300 with a mean of $42,345. For families with a household income of $225,000, the estimate range for those with low assets was $30,700 to $60,700 with a mean of $45,595; for those with high assets, it was $34,100 to $70,600 with a mean of $54,027. For families with a household income of $275,000, the estimate range for those with low assets was $34,100 to $71,300 with a mean of $55,323; for those with high assets, it was $34,100 to $77,700 with a mean of $65,198.

Projecting into the future

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