Inspiration

When figuring out the cost of attending BU with my parents there were many things to consider. Ultimately my family with its modest income decided that my education was worth the investment, but not without me having to tally up some numbers. This app is meant to help college students in a similar position who could use a simple user-friendly app to crunch those numbers.

What it does

It has a few fields, to use it the user enters the cost of attending that school (including tuition, books, room and board), how much the user plans to take out in loans, any amount of financial aid (grants, or other scholarships that do not require to be paid back), and finally the out-of-pocket cost that the family will pay upfront. The app will have a pop-up if these fields do not completely cover the cost of attending and will tell the user how much is still needed.

And then, the user enters the expected average starting salary for his/her career. The app then calculates how much will be left in the user's monthly balance after paying back the loans. The user can choose to see the loans repaid over 5, 10, and 15 years. The app calculates the interest for these loans, and also deducts the income tax from the expected salary.

There is a cost of living simulator as well that shows you how much money would be left in your monthly balance if you were to live in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, etc. This is for practicality and gives a realistic sense of what a new grad's income situation will be. The cost of living simulator considers the avg. rent someone would pay in that location, avg. monthly transportation based on public transport, and also a budget for food assuming someone eats in half the time and eats out the other half.

The app was designed with the lifestyle of a new college grad in mind, and this is reflected in the cost of goods in each city.

How we built it

Using Android Studio and Java

Challenges we ran into

Since this is a first attempt at Android, there were definitely a few hiccups in the layout of things. Besides this, there were no major issues.

What's next for CollegeSmart

In a v2 or v3, we would like to see the data pooled in from a website as opposed to hard-coding the numbers in for each city. Also, the same for the college-- we would like to have the data from colleges readily available so that the only fields the user has to input are the fin. aid, loans, and out-of-pocket. Similarly, info about the salary and career should also be integrated.

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