College Planning Tool Helps Families Estimate Total Cost

Redesigned Resource Debuts as Students Receive College Aid Notifications

March 15, 2022

A free online college planning tool that helps families estimate the total cost of a college education has been redesigned to make it simpler to use.

The College Funding Forecaster allows students to input estimated costs, expected financial aid, savings and earnings to project total out-of-pocket expenses and potential student loan amounts for four to six years, the time it typically takes to earn an undergraduate degree, at the college or university of their choice.

Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation, a nonprofit organization which offers college financing products as ISL Education Lending, provides the mobile friendly College Funding Forecaster free on its website at www.IowaStudentLoan.org/Forecaster.

"Right now, high school seniors are receiving financial aid notifications from colleges and universities," explained Steve McCullough, president and CEO of ISL. "These notifications are very useful, but they are restricted to one academic year. It can be difficult for families to account for changes in costs, offered aid and other factors for the next three to five years to come up with an estimate of how much college will really cost — and how much they may need to borrow to cover any funding gap."

"Besides the total cost projection," McCullough said, "the tool highlights ways to bring down that total amount of student loans. We want students and families to be fully informed and make decisions that keep total borrowing to an amount that can be repaid successfully later."

Students and families who don't have financial aid notifications to refer to can still use the tool, according to ISL. The College Funding Forecaster uses historical data from the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard to display average costs and financial aid amounts for each institution covered by the tool. Users are not locked in to the displayed amounts, however. Each amount should be considered and adjusted based on the student's individual situation.

"We encourage families with younger students to try out some different scenarios as part of their overall college planning," stated McCullough. A print feature allows results to be saved or printed for each institution under consideration to make it easy to compare results for different colleges and universities.

The College Funding Forecaster is one of a suite of college planning and financing tools and resources ISL offers to the public on its website.

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Media Contact

Christopher Weishaar, Digital PR Specialist, (515) 273-7102, cweishaar@studentloan.org