A new tool to help estimate college costs, if you can find it

As of this fall, colleges are required by a new federal rule to post a net-price calculator on their websites.

It’s a simple tool that offers students and families an estimate on colleges costs.  It includes not only tuition and fees, but other living expenses as well.  And it also figures out how much government financial aid might be available to a students.

The calculators are promoted as a way for families to navigate the confusing world of college costs and financial aid.

But they have their drawbacks too.  Sometimes they’re hard to find.  Most colleges place them deep in their websites, often several clicks from the main homepage.

And there are concerns that the more complex versions of the calculator could scare students off.

There’s more on the issue in this story I did for Minnesota Public Radio News.