Via Reuters, StudentAid.com has announced the release of an advanced technology that will help colleges and universities provide the public with greater cost transparency via Web-based net cost calculators.

2008’s Higher Education Opportunity Act requires all Title IV-eligible institutions of higher education to provide net cost calculators on their Web sites so prospective students and their families have more precise student aid and out-of-pocket cost information as they move through the college application process. But out of the approximately 6,800 organizations that must provide net cost calculators, only a handful currently offer them.

According to the Reuters story, dozens of universities have already asked for demonstrations of StudentAid.com’s proprietary Student Aid Estimator technology, which has been tested with 25 million student profile simulations and 28,000 students and provides individual aid estimates based on each student`s academic and financial circumstances. Implementing the software seems like one small step for colleges but one giant leap for cost transparency.

Daniel Fromson

Follow Daniel on Twitter @dfroms. Daniel Fromson was an editorial intern at the Washington Monthly.