Educator Toolbox

TXGU Activity: Comparing Net Prices


Created By:
 Texas GEAR UP

Grade Level: 9th/10th

Introduction for Educators: Rebates sound like a good idea. They promise that if you purchase an item, all you have to do is mail in a piece of paper, and you’ll receive a major discount. If you actually do this, you help take a large sticker price down to smaller "net price." If you forget to mail it in, then you’ve spent more money than you needed to.

There are many opportunities to help your students lower the net price of college. Give them the tools to navigate these different opportunities today.

Introduction for Students: So you want to go to college, but you don't know how much it costs? Well, get ready, because that is a complicated question. Once you know the answer, you’ll be much further along on your path toward paying for college.

The Activity: Analyzing the net price of five different types of schools will help you understand what college really costs. Work with your parents or teachers, or do an internet search to identify five different schools, including:

  • An elite private college
  • A regional state college
  • A "no loan" or "limited loan" college

Once you’ve chosen your five schools, determine how much they will cost. Start by using the schools’ websites and other online resources to gather the following information:

  • Cost of tuition
  • Cost of books
  • Cost of room and board
  • General living costs
  • Available scholarships
  • Available grants
  • Available loans

Add these costs and discounts together. (If you’re using loans, keep in mind their entire cost, including how much you will have to pay in interest.) The total price is called the "net price."

What did you learn? Which school is really the most affordable?