The Biggest Thing Since College Rankings

Do you use Expedia, Orbitz or Travelocity when you book a flight or find a rental car? Have you used Zillow when you’re searching for a house or Carfax when looking for a used Honda?

Using these website and others like it has made buying all sorts of stuff easier. One big ticket item, however, that’s resisted this kind of shopping experience is the college degree.

College prices are not transparent. Sure you can find the published prices, but many people won’t ultimately pay full price. Parents typically don’t discover how much their tab will be until they receive a financial aid letter shortly before their child must make an admission decision.

It won’t be long, however, when college pricing will become much more transparent. And this will lead to aggregators who will surely be introducing college pricing comparison sites.

I wrote about this upcoming revolutionary change for CBSMoneyWatch today while I was between sessions at the annual conference of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Here’s where you can read the post and learn more:

Here’s What Will Revolutionize Higher Education

Experts are predicting this will be as big a game changer as US News & World Report’s college rankings.

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  1. Collecting cost information for the various colleges my kids were interested in was not too difficult. What was difficult was trying to project the composition of the financial aid packages in terms of grants, loans, and work-study to determine what it would really cost. It would be easy if college were a one year proposition, but it’s not. Trying to gauge what will happen over 4 years as assets dwindle and siblings enter and/or leave college is quite a challenge. If a college cost calculator or aggregator can provide a four-year picture of costs based based upon significant changes affecting financial aid awards, that will be a remarkable accomplishment and truly revolutionary.