As you research colleges, you’re considering multiple factors: How much personal attention you’ll get, where you can intern and study abroad, what academic programs are offered, and whether the campus feels like home.

Another important consideration? Cost. But make sure you’re looking at the right numbers.

Every college has a “sticker price,” the total fee for a year of education. This is the published cost you’ll find on websites and brochures. But the more important number to consider is your “net price,” the amount your family will pay after you’re awarded scholarships, grants and other financial aid. Most people pay a net price that’s far lower than the sticker price.

Sticker price – scholarships and financial aid = net price

How will you find out your net price? When you apply for admission to St. Edward’s, you’ll automatically be considered for academic scholarships. Then, when you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — or FAFSA — you’ll be considered for additional grants and loans. (Check out our tips to completing the FAFSA.) Last year, the average grant (money that doesn’t have to be paid back) was $28,771.

The FAFSA uses information about your family size, income and assets to calculate your Expected Family Contribution, or EFC. Colleges award financial aid based on the difference between their sticker price and your EFC. That’s why, after you’ve been awarded financial aid, a school with a high sticker price might become as affordable as a school with a much lower one. The real bottom line — what you’ll actually pay, after you’ve been offered scholarships and grants — is your net price.

Get a preview of your personalized net price.

You can get an estimate of your net price right now, using the St. Edward’s Net Price Calculator. You’ll need your high school GPA, your SAT or ACT scores, some basic information about your family’s income and assets — and about five minutes.

When you complete the process, you’ll get a helpful, personalized cost sheet that explains exactly what the sticker price covers, what scholarships and financial aid you can expect to receive, and your net price. Then, you can explore options for covering that amount, including loans, outside scholarships, jobs and money your family has saved for college.

What’s the value?

As you compare net price between schools, it’s important to consider not just the cost of college, but the kind of education — and future — you’re investing in. Will each college offer personalized success coaching, starting your freshman year, to connect you with valuable internships? Will you learn in small classes taught by professors who know your name? Will you be able to use the career center for the rest of your life? Will you have the opportunity to study abroad? To conduct graduate-level research?

At St. Edward’s, you’ll find your purpose and figure out what kind of life you want, and you’ll connect those dreams to real-world learning opportunities in the nation’s best city. And you won’t do it alone. You’ll have the support of your professors, your success coach and a growing alumni network. A college education at St. Edward’s University is one of the best investments you can make in your future.