New cost calculator available to Rice applicants

Potential applicants to Rice now have a fast, user-friendly online tool designed to give families a more accurate way to gauge the cost of attendance while factoring in financial aid.

The free tool, called MyinTuition, was developed by Wellesley College in response to the knowledge that too few students apply to top-notch schools because they assume they cannot afford them.

“Families look at the price and walk away without thinking about financial aid possibilities because the assumption is that the cost is too high,” said Phillip Levine, the Wellesley professor of economics who developed MyinTuition. “Now, equipped with a simple, fast way to estimate costs, more parents may find that they can send their children to top schools.”

Rice is one of 12 schools that adopted the new tool this week.

logo for MyinTuitionAvailable on the Admission home page, MyinTuition asks six basic financial questions. The answers are used to provide personalized estimates of what it would cost a family to send their child to Rice.

It takes the average user about three minutes to complete the form. The tool gives parents a breakdown of the estimated costs paid by the family, work-study and loan estimates, in addition to grant assistance provided by Rice.

“Rice University meets 100 percent of demonstrated need of all its admitted students,” said Julie Browning, dean for undergraduate enrollment. “Helping low-income high school students and their parents become aware that a Rice education is within their reach means they can dream big and develop their full potential. We believe MyinTuition is a great service to underserved high achievers, and we’re proud to add this resource to our efforts to expand access to these worthy students.”

In 2011, the federal government mandated that colleges and universities offer a “net price calculator” to provide prospective students with an estimate of the cost of enrollment and financial aid possibilities. That tool is also available on the Rice website, but Levine said that unlike many college cost calculators, MyinTuition does not intimidate parents by asking them to answer “a dizzying puzzle of questions that require detailed answers to questions about family finances, including information from tax returns.” He noted that financial aid is often available if a child qualifies to be admitted, “but the sticker shock and the process scare people away.”

The instructions for MyinTuition are accompanied by a one-minute animated video demonstrating how to use the tool.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.