Understanding MyinTuition

Wednesday May 29, 2019

MyinTuition is a simple online college cost estimator for about 50 schools. I was curious about how it worked, so I figured it out. I suspect they don't want me to say, and I like them, so I won't. But here are some of my opinions and experiences.

The rhetoric around MyinTuition is all about transparency, as in the creator's 2014 paper about it, Transparency in College Costs. They want to be transparent about this message: Top Colleges Are Cheaper Than You Think (Unless You’re Rich).

College affordability is important. An expanded idea of transparency might further include how the MyinTuition calculations are done, and how the different schools vary. That's what I was curious about.

I originally thought I'd try to use machine learning to understand how MyinTuition works, which would mean first collecting training data. I'm not sure this was ever a good idea. For one thing, it doesn't seem practical if data collection is severely rate-limited.

I explored on and off for a couple months. It was fun! It wouldn't be as much fun to do now, what with the CAPTCHAs they've put in. And unfortunately it may no longer be possible to access MyinTuition at all using the IP addresses I was on at the time.

Figuring out the MyinTuition calculations and parameters for different schools was interesting. I'll just recommend that you try a bunch of schools and see what you get. You can find the calculators for all participating schools on their site.

Never stop learning, kids!