Trying to figure out which colleges you can afford? These are four of our favorite student-tested websites for comparing college costs. All are great for comparing your college offers as well.  

We love these websites because they offer calculators for comparing college costs and decoding financial aid letters.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Your Financial Path to Graduation

This government website is extremely comprehensive. It is presented as a survey where you can enter your financial aid information and compare what each college will cost. The website, however, goes further. You will learn how to deal with your money effectively. The site is also a great resource for freshmen and transfer students providing tips on college life, personal finance, loan options, debt management, and eligibility for benefits. The information may take some time to grasp, but if you want to save money and work smarter, this tool is for you!

NYS Higher Education Service: Financial Aid Award Packages Comparison Tool

HESC’s website might look familiar to students who have applied for New York’s Tuition Assistance Program. (When you file your FAFSA, don’t forget to apply for state financial aid too!) It breaks down financial aid and explains the process to make it easy for you to understand. It allows you to compare three college offers at the same time by entering your financial aid info. The results will include the pros and cons of each college based on your needs.

College Board Big Future: Compare Your Aid Awards

This College Board site is one of the most popular platforms for college searching. You can easily find and compare info like the cost of the school, available majors, and financial aid. However, not a lot of people know that BigFuture also has a financial aid calculator. It allows you to compare four college offers at the same time after you enter your info. If you have an account already, even better.

Road2College: Compare College Offers | Getting the Best Deal

It can be really stressful to look at all of the financial aid letters at once. Road2College is a platform that is easily navigated step by step that allows you to assess your offers. There is no limit to the number of colleges you can compare, and you can go back to your lists whenever you want. Bonus: There are study guides if you need more help.


Emily Xie, a college student and an aspiring game designer, is a mentor for the Parsons Scholars Program serving first-generation student artists in New York City’s public high schools.

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