Aside from various calculators available for families to help determine their contribution to college, there will now be more help from colleges, since each college is different in how it grants aid, and in what form.
By Oct. 29, 2011, all colleges that participate in Title IV student aid programs (assuming that is most schools) must post a net price calculator on their Web sites, providing that school's data to show estimated net price information to current and prospective students as determined by the individual student's situation. Here's a summary of the law, under What's New on this U.S. Department of Education bulletin.
Good news for sophomore families -- a little more enlightenment!
Some other interesting news on college costs comes from the 2010 "Trends in College Pricing" and "Trends in Student Aid". Public universities raised tuition and fees nearly 8% in 2010 to cover shrinking state support and private colleges increased 4.5% But there was also a large increase in financial aid, supplied by federal government sources, which lowered the amount actually paid.
My concern: how long can the Feds keep up the largesse?