Enrollment Management

Intelligent Net Price Calculator

Fostering informed financial decisions through cost transparency in university education

Studies by Lillis and Tian (2008) show the cost of college is an important factor for student and their parents in college selection. Specifically, the cost of education is a limiting criterion for students belonging to the economically disadvantaged section of society. Only 60% of students manage to earn a college degree within six years of starting their education.

Therefore, the federal government mandates that academic institutions offering federal student aid have an online net price calculator (NPC) to help families in making informed college choices for the students based on their financial resources.

To help families assess their college affordability, the federal government provides a framework for a net price calculator. Using that calculator, families can calculate the difference between net price and sticker price. The sticker price is the price that the college publishes on its website while the net price is the actual price that families are supposed to pay after accounting for gift aid.  In short, having a net price calculator fosters cost transparency and assists families in making optimal decisions within their budget.

Although the federal net price calculator provides a framework to calculate the net cost of attendance it has limitations that which admission department will prefer to avoid. As an alternative, Virtue Analytics assists universities in developing their net price calculator that can be integrated with the website of the admission office effortlessly.

Why do colleges need a net price calculator?

Prior to the invention of net price calculators, students typically had no clue what their out-of-pocket expenditures would be until they had applied for admission, sought financial aid, and received an award letter. Many students and parents base their college enrollment decisions on cost. That is why in 2011 the federal government mandated that every college and university that offers federal student aid have an online net price calculator. When students & families have a positive and insightful experience using a Net Price Calculator, they are more likely to apply and enroll.
Net Price Calculator also helps students & families to become more financially literate and cost transparent which helps them in better financial planning for college.

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Why Virtue’s net price calculator?

  1. Accurate and up-to-date – Virtue provides active support with zero downtime and helps to keep the calculator with up-to-date scholarship calculation
  2. Adaptive survey form- Assessing the financial resources to calculate the estimated family contribution can be lengthy. Using an adaptive questionnaire Virtue’s net price calculator calculates the family contribution in a fraction of seconds.
  3. Virtue net price calculator shows a low bounce rate and high completion rate.
  4. Virtue‘s NPC collects the student data and can be leveraged as a lead generation tool
  5. The student’s leads are collected and processed on US servers
  6. Universities receive periodic leads via email and are backed by an interactive dashboard where the admission office can study the student interest and can develop a data-backed student engagement program.
  7. NPC can work as a vehicle of social change by bringing cost transparency and helping families in budgeting which ultimately fosters intergenerational mobility and financial security for disadvantaged families.


Your data is safe with Virtue Analytics

Virtue Analytics promises top-notch privacy protection to its clients and users. The data collected from the students are stored in disparate data silos and cannot be replicated or misused by any third party unlike the free net price calculators available elsewhere, which indulge in the misuse of the student’s data. Virtue stands for its professional ethics, which ensures the total security of its user’s data.

Virtue complies with the Privacy Act of 1974 as well as the Federal Trade Commission Act which establishes a code of fair information practices that governs the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of information about individuals that is maintained in systems of records by federal agencies in the US.


  1. Lillis, Michael P.; Tian, Robert G (2008). The Impact of Cost on College Choice: Beyond the Means of the Economically Disadvantaged, Journal of College Admission, n200 p4-14.
  2. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/education/our-insights/reimagining-higher-education-in-the-united-states
  3. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ829466