How TuitionFit Works

Want to see if your financial aid award is a fair offer?

It’s free to see how your offer(s) compare to thousands of verified and anonymized financial aid awards offered to similar students by colleges all over the country.  All you have to do is share one of your own. 

Want to build a college list that fits your price range?

That’s free, too.  Create a TuitionFit account with your unweighted GPA and EFC (get an estimate here), select your price range, and see the schools in our dataset that match your criteria.  If you want to dive deeper into the details of each offer, upgrade to premium access.

Want to make financial fit a priority as a counselor?

Use your professional TuitionFit account to ensure that all of your students and families find the colleges that fit their price range.  Then subscribe to TuitionFit’s Advanced Search so that you can search the entire dataset any time you’d like.

Mark Salisbury, TuitionFit co-founder, explains how TuitionFit works. Learn more about the TuitionFit team.


Put TuitionFit to Work for You

Follow the Instructions Below

Check out the Video Tutorials

Step #1: Set Up a Free Account

  1.  Create a secure username and password (the username should be the email of the individual who will be the primary monitor of the account).
  2. Answer basic questions about yourself (or your student if you are a parent setting up this account) and provide:
    • Your GPA (unweighted, if you know it)
    • Your best ACT or SAT score (if you have it)
    • Your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) from the FAFSA or a quick EFC estimator 
  3. If you are counselor, set up a free counselor account so you can link with your students and even create accounts for them.

Step #2: Find Colleges in Your Price Range

  1. Find colleges in your price range based on real financial aid awards from the most recently completed admissions cycle.
  2. See detailed pricing data from each college and university offer as well as how offers combine grants, loans, and scholarships by upgrading to premium access for $49.
  3. Start your college search with the confidence that you are looking at schools that fit your budget.

Step #3: Make Sure You Get a Fair Price

  1. Take a picture of each award offer you receive and upload it to TuitionFit.
  2. Approve your anonymized letter so you can see all of the awards that others have shared.
  3. Compare your prices against the offers that similar students have shared from other colleges, allowing you to choose the best fit for you.
  4. Use the actual award letters shared by other students just like you to negotiate with leverage and get your best possible price.

Frequently Asked Questions

These 3 things are required:  

  • the student’s name (which we will then black out)
  • the college’s name or logo
  • financial aid information such as grants, scholarships, or loans offered, even if the amount is $0

The more complete the information shown, the more accurate the Price to Pay Now will be.

Unfortunately, not all colleges make this basic information easy to see. Online portals often don’t display the student’s name, so you could try to download the financial aid award letter and take a screenshot or print and upload a scan or picture if it shows the needed information.  If multiple pages came in a folder or booklet with some information on each page, you can take a picture of the two pages side by side. If you’re having trouble finding the information, please email

Email and tell us what needs to be changed and the new information you’d like entered.  We’ll take care of everything else!

TuitionFit shows you the offers uploaded by other students whose ACT or SAT score, high school or college GPA, and EFC are similar to yours. We determine similarity for each user individually. EFC categories are narrower if the user qualifies for Pell Grants (at its narrowest, those ranges are less than $3,000) to align more closely with the federal government’s matrix for awarding Pell Grants. These categories widen considerably when EFC rises above the threshold for Pell Grants.  We have already filtered your “See Prices” display list with only those offers that match your academic and financial profile.

Sticker Price includes tuition, required fees, standard housing on-campus, and a standard on-campus meal plan. If the Sticker Price shown is in red text, that means we’re displaying the previous sticker price because the upcoming year’s sticker price for this college has not been published yet.  The sticker price will be updated when it becomes available. If the sticker price reflects a price that’s only applicable to students residing in the same state as the university, “In-state” will show below the dollar amount.

A “discounted” sticker price means that this is not the regular out-of-state sticker price.  Often, the sticker price is discounted based on where the student lives because of a tuition exchange agreement like the Western University Exchange (WUE), the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP), or the New England Board of Higher Education Tuition Break (NEBHE).  In other cases, bordering states may have established a tuition reciprocity agreement with each other.  And sometimes, certain counties within a state offer an addition tuition reduction to the local students attending their local public institution.  Just like in-state offers, check to see if this discounted sticker price applies to you.

Don’t forget, your college costs are going to be more than just tuition, fees, room, and board.  You’ll have to pay for books, course supplies, travel, personal hygiene products, etc. as well as the regular living expenses that come up over time.

“-Grant/Scholarship Award” – This category is money the student doesn’t ever have to pay.  It includes Federal and State grants determined by financial need, as well as scholarships and grants from the college.

“-Loan to Pay Later” – Includes Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans as well as loans offered by the college or state government. This does not include any parent loans.

“=Price to Pay Now” – This is the actual price, the minimum amount of money the student needs to come up with to attend this college next academic year if they accept all the loans, grants, and scholarships counted in this table. We calculate this by Sticker Price minus Grant/Scholarship Award minus Loan to Pay Later.

“Included Non-Renewable Award” – If we can tell that some of the grants or scholarships offered are not eligible to be renewed beyond the first year there will be a “Yes” listed here.

“Program-Specific Awards” – If any of the financial aid included in this letter is being given for a specific major or other activity or program, the name of the program will be listed here.  Many of these awards require auditions or competitions so these will generally not be available to other students.

Colleges and universities rarely rescind an offer of admission, because they know that they will have to deal with a PR nightmare if they can’t thoroughly justify their decision.  So when they do, most decisions to pull an offer are because of academic reasons (you don’t show up to class during the second semester of your senior year), disciplinary issues (you break the law or are suspended from your high school), or you lied on your college application (you didn’t really win a Nobel prize as high school sophomore, did you?).

If you’ve done none of those things, then a school has nothing to gain and a lot to lose by rescinding an acceptance. In addition, because the majority of schools have struggled to meet their enrollment goals in recent years, most schools simply can’t risk the negative PR that would come from proactively rescinding an admissions offer it made to a student who was just trying to find a good financial fit.

And if a school that has accepted you threatens to rescind your offer of admission because you shared an award letter from them, then you might be better off continuing to look for a school that will truly care about your best interests.

We try really hard not to make mistakes, but we have the extra step of having you verify your redacted letter just in case.  If you see something we missed, click “Send Back” instead of approving the letter, and type in the response box letting us know what we missed.


Want to make real college price transparency happen today? Spread the word about TuitionFit!