High school students should work with a counselor or teacher to incorporate net price calculators into their college search process.

Include Net Price Calculators Early in Your College Search

More students are using the college cost calculators, but not soon enough, experts say.

High school students should work with a counselor or teacher to incorporate net price calculators into their college search process.
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To avoid any missteps or confusion, families should work with a guidance counselor or teacher to fill out the calculator for any schools they are interested in, she says.

Dennison also suggest students take a "consumer approach" by using other tools, such as the Department of Education's FAFSA4caster, comparing net price estimates from multiple colleges and then following-up with each school's financial aid office, says.

"It's not just taking one net price calculator and the result and then walking away," she says. "You never go in and buy the first car you test drive. You usually test drive others, or you go to different dealerships, or you get different reviews. It's not just taking one thing at face value. Exploration is the key."

Trying to fund your education? Get tips and more in the U.S. News Paying for College center.