Photo: Flickr via m-i-k-e
Much like credit cards and home loans, the college application process is often booby-trapped with hidden fees.The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s been kicking around a couple of ways to make that process more transparent. Late last year, it rolled out a financial aid shopping sheet that will eventually give students a complete breakdown of each school’s cost by category.
But consumers asked for something more: An easier way to find a side-by-side cost comparison of universities.
In answer, the agency’s rolled out what it’s calling a “thought starter” for its upcoming College Cost Comparison tool. If you’ve ever used a site like Nerdwallet or BanksLoveMe to compare credit or checking accounts, this is pretty much the same model.
For now, you can search up to three different colleges. Once you’ve punched in their names, you’ll see a breakdown of tuition and fees (in- or out-of-state) along with options to personalise the results with your savings, loans, and scholarship awards.
The tool’s still in beta form, so you won’t find data on exact monthly payments or your projected debt burden at graduation, but it’s a pretty exciting step toward changing the patterns that led us to a trillion-dollar student debt bubble.
Try the College Cost Comparison tool here and let the CFPB know what you think.
Here’s a preview: