backpack of money
Photo Illustration by Steve Walkowiak for MONEY

How to Find a College You Can Truly Afford

Jul 11, 2016

Searching for a great college that won’t load you up with student loans? This new tool from MONEY can help anyone from a family earning up to $48,000 a year find a high-quality college where you’ll get the financial aid you need. Once you enter your home state, test scores, and estimates for how much you and your family can contribute or borrow, you'll get a list of schools that should fit your budget. Those might include public schools in your state and private schools nationwide.

The college prices you’ll see are the average net prices paid by the one-third of American families who earn $48,000 a year or less. "Net price" is your cost after all grants and scholarships are subtracted. All of the colleges are rated as best values by MONEY, which means they also excel in educational quality and alumni success.

Remember that these prices are averages—and you are probably not average. After you’re admitted, each college will evaluate your family’s situation and award you a unique financial aid package. To get a more personalized estimate of your likely net price, try the College Abacus calculator.

For more ways to find affordable colleges, check out MONEY’s 2016 Best Value Colleges and our lists of best-value colleges of every type.

Notes: Net price is the 2014-15 average price after all grants and scholarships are subtracted paid by students from families earning up to $48,000; other data for all students. Sources: U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Labor, Peterson’s, PayScale.com, College Measures, MONEY calculations. Development of this web tool was funded by a grant from the Lumina Foundation.

For more of MONEY’s Best Colleges 2016-2017 coverage, see the full list of MONEY’s Best Colleges. If you’re not an A-plus student, explore the Best Colleges You Can Actually Get Into. And see how parents and students view college costs very differently.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. MONEY may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions