At PayForEd, we take great pride in our Proprietary College Cost Database. We developed this database process to improve the accuracy and timing of the information for our clients. Many other systems purchase their data from a third party or depend on the government’s IPEDS database. These numbers are self-reported and often not available until sometime in late October after many students have already begun their college list building and application process.
Starting in May some of our staff starts to visit college websites to collect the upcoming cost of attendance data. After the information is collected, we do a data cleanse to improve accuracy and identify trends. The main reason is to save our client’s time and money.
By having our data updated in early August gives families the ability to see the upcoming cost and make a better decision on the financial expenses of each college that they are considering. With the average application fees being $50.00 to $100.00 per college, the College Cost Analyzer will pay for itself if a student removes just one college from their list.
The biggest benefit of the College Cost Analyzer with our updated data is it can save parents and students time and reduces stress. First, it puts all the financial information in one place. With our customized four-year analysis and financial aid projections, we increase the transparency of the true cost and debt at graduation. As a result, the PayForED methodology also reduces the stress of the college decision process by providing better insights into expected financial awards.
In a recent study by the University of Penn, the accuracy of some colleges net price calculators were found to be questionable. According to the study, many colleges are not maintaining these calculators as required by the government. This makes it harder for families to make an informed decision and another reason we emphasize our data quality.
As part of our summer intern orientation, we had our interns take a sample family and their task was to estimate the cost of college by using the net price calculators found on 8 randomly selected college websites. Our assumption was that a typical college-bound family would need to do this same exercise when building a college list. It took them approximately 2.5 hours to estimate 8 colleges. We then had them use our College App and they were done in 20 minutes. In addition, they had customized financial aid answers that went beyond a typical net price calculator and were able to compare the 8 schools in more detail.
Discover the advantages of the PayForED data quality in our College Cost Analyzer or College App. Engage your child in the true cost of college and avoid excessive student loan by using the PayForED approach.