Battle Brewing Over Cost Comparison Site For Colleges

Career College Central summary:

  • A battle is brewing over, a website that aims to be the of college shopping by making it easier for students to compare prices at thousands of colleges. While some applaud the site for its ease of use and transparency, others say it is trying to profit from colleges' proprietary information.
  • College Abacus launched its online tool in early October, enabling students to enter their financial and academic information and receive an estimate of their "net price," or how much they will pay (after scholarships), at thousands of colleges.
  • Students receive their net price at any three colleges for free and can get as many comparisons as they like. For those who want to compare many colleges all at once, the site charges $100 for a spreadsheet of the top 200 colleges and universities.
  • Just days after College Abacus' launched its site, Student Aid Services, a company that manages the net price calculators for about 700 colleges, began refusing the traffic that was coming from College Abacus' Internet Protocol address. Student Aid Services' clients had complained that College Abacus was taking their proprietary information without permission, and charging for it when the colleges provide it for free. Several college officials have added that they fear College Abacus could entice students into simply choosing a college by price, without considering differences in quality of education.

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