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Cost HERO is a free calculator that guides you through the
design of a four-year college budget using your rules.  
It is best used as a high level view of what is affordable for you.
Once you have a budget that works, you are ready to begin the
college search.  Consider our List HERO software for your search.
Please share this tool with your financial advisor and
any others who might benefit.  Be a HERO to them!
Note:  We do not sell or share your information.
When you are finished, click submit to save your work.
Thanks for your interest in Cost HERO.
  Cost HERO        
Enter data in the blue cells.  Don't leave any blanks.  If you don't have anything to report, enter "0."  Click on Your Plan above to see results.
Enter account balance and percent (0-100%) you want to use for this student Balance % to use
1 Coverdell & 529 Savings (Total for all students)
2 Additional Parent Investments For College
3 Student Savings & Investments
4 Anticipated gifts from relatives or others
5 Total
7 For the following, enter monthly amounts
8 Total Monthly Income From All Sources
9 Housing costs (principal, interest, taxes, insurance) or Rent
10 Auto Loan or Lease Payments (all)
11 Any other payments on loans, credit cards, tax liens,RVs etc.
12 Contributions to 529 or other College Savings Plan
14 If willing to suspend all or part of Line 12 above, enter amount per month
15 * Monthly cost reduction for food, gas, utilities, etc. (see note below).
16 Enter an amount you expect student to earn (suggest $2,500 minimum)
17 Private high school tuition & other costs no longer incurred each month
18 Any additional monthly income you can use for college
19 Total
*  Now that your son or daughter is in college, they don't create the costs
you've been absorbing for the past 18 years!  For example, your electric bill
will be reduced.  Your grocery bill will go down.  You will be putting fuel in your
vehicles much less frequently.  And more.  Do some math and arrive at a figure
that works for you. However, a minimum amount would be $300 per month.
  Your College Budget Example  
Sources of Money For College Amount Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Total
From Parent  Income
From Savings
From Student Earnings
From  Federal Student Loan? (enter Y or N)
From  Federal Tax Credit (AOTC)
Total For This Plan by Year- No Parent Debt
To add a Parent  loan, enter amount  in blue cell1
Less Loan Payments (10 year payment plan)2
Total For This Plan by Year- With Parent Debt
Note 1:  Based on Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
Note2: This is the standard 10-year repayment plan.  Current interest rate is 8.09%.
    Buy College Like You Are Buying a Home  
The "Rule of 36/43" is the debt to income (DTI) ratio that lenders use to assess how much you can afford for a home mortgage and other debt. Mortgage bankers prefer that your monthly mortgage costs (principal, interest, property taxes and homeowners insurance) should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income.  They also want your total monthly debt payments (mortgage, auto, credit cards, education loan payments, etc.)to be less than 43% of your gross monthly income.  We apply this rule to borrowing for college in order to prevent you from getting overextended.  The calculation below does the math for you using data you've already entered.  If you entered a parent loan in Your Plan, you'll see the payment after four years factored in.  
Gross Monthly Income From All Sources
Monthly Mortgage Payment (PITI)
Monthly Auto Payment(s) - All
Other Monthly Payments
Fourth Year College Loan Payment from Your Plan
Current Debt to Income (DTI) Ratio
Additionbal Borrowing Capacity %
Additional Borrowing Capacity $ per month
Additional Borrowing Capacity (Total $)
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YES!  Send me  a copy of my college funding report.
If you want a copy of your plan, complete the information below.
If you prefer not to share your information, but want to save data,
use the print command.  Otherwise, when you exit the tool
your data is permanently deleted.
First Name
 Last Name
Student's year of H.S. graduation