An ECMC Initiative
An ECMC Initiative

What is College Abacus?

College Abacus is a one-stop, secure search site that helps students and families compare the net price estimates of 5,000+ colleges before students apply and before any financial aid determination is made.

What is Net Price?

Sticker Price

The listed price a school charges per academic year.

Most students don’t pay the full sticker price.

Total Aid

Includes grants, scholarships and other money that you will not be required to pay back.

Every school has its own financial aid formula, which is shared with students through its net price calculator.

Estimated Net Price

The amount this school estimates you will need to cover through cash, work-study, and/or loans.

NOTE: This number is only an estimate and only applies to your freshman year. Currently, schools are not required to give estimates beyond year 1.

How Does College Abacus Work?

Using net price calculators (NPCs) built by U.S. colleges and universities as mandated by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, College Abacus has built a system that generates estimates for 5,000+ postsecondary institutions in the United States. Our system connects with school net price calculators in real time as you use our site.

College Abacus generates individualized tuition cost estimates based on information you provide us such as

Household Income
# of Family Members Attending College

Accuracy of Information

The projected cost of education on College Abacus mirrors the exact same net price estimates students would generate on the websites of each individual school. We do not apply our own algorithms or conduct our own analysis.

In addition to other quality assurance efforts, we test our system regularly for accuracy by running sample profiles through our system to ensure that College Abacus reports the correct information for students and families of varying demographics.

Security & Privacy

College Abacus is a secure site. We will never sell or share your personal financial information. We employ well-established security measures to safeguard our systems and are committed to preserving, protecting, and respecting the privacy and security of your personal information.


College Abacus is offered as a free public resource by nonprofit education entity ECMC Group. ECMC seeks to help students find a school that is the right fit for their career aspirations and financial circumstances. Free services like College Abacus provide a way for ECMC to give back to the community and help students make an informed decision about their college education.

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