Skip Navigation
January 2012

From the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

NCES Helps Colleges Meet Federal Net Price Calculator Requirement

Now students can estimate their out-of-pocket expenses at college by using net price calculators found on college websites. To help institutions meet this Higher Education Opportunity Act requirement for making a net price calculator available, NCES collaborated with the Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education to develop a methodology and online template that colleges and universities could use to create a net price calculator based on their own student data. To help make the college calculators easier for students and parents to find on college websites, NCES also collected the direct website addresses for them and included them on its college search site, the College Navigator.

NCES Changes Data Collection Method for National Household Education Survey

Key elements of the new NHES design:
  • Advance letter is sent to all households one week before the screener questionnaire is mailed.
  • A simplified household screening questionnaire is sent with a cash incentive.
  • Addresses that meet certain criteria are sent both English and Spanish screener questionnaires.
  • Up to three follow up mailings are sent to nonrespondents for both the screening and topical questionnaires.

National Household Education Survey logoStarting in January 2012, the National Center for Education Statistics began collecting National Household Education Survey (NHES) data by mail instead of by telephone as it has nearly every 2 years since 1991. The surveys that comprise NHES have been used to collect topical information on early childhood education, school readiness, adult education, civic involvement, after school activities, parent and family involvement in education, and other topics.

NHES had been conducted by telephone using a random digit dial frame. NHES was redesigned as a mail survey because of the drop in response rates for the telephone screening survey. Response rates for the screening survey dropped from 81 percent in 1991 to 53 percent in 2007. During that time, the number of cell phone-only households rapidly increased. In 2007, approximately 14 percent of adults and children lived in cell phone-only households and 2 percent lived in households without any telephone service. This made it difficult to ensure coverage of the population. Prior to rolling out this new design, NCES conducted a small feasibility test and a large-scale field test. These tests indicated that the new design could improve response rates and coverage.

For more information about the NHES, visit the survey website at