If you haven’t done so already, now is a great time to check that your student has applied to some colleges that your family can afford. The best way to do this is to use the net price calculators of the schools they’ve chosen to see what you’re likely to pay. If none of the choices is within financial reach, it’s time to cast a wider net while you still can.

When using net price calculators, it’s important to make sure that they’re giving good information. More questions, while being somewhat more of a hassle, will yield more accurate responses. Some schools only request FAFSA data; others request GPA and test scores. In the case of schools offering merit aid, a net price calculator that requests non-financial data is key to an accurate net price estimate.