College & Workforce Readiness

Higher Education Leaders Agree to Cost Transparency

By Caralee J. Adams — June 05, 2012 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Today, leaders from 10 colleges and universities met with Obama administration officials in Washington and agreed to include clearer information about college costs, financial aid, and student outcomes in their financial-aid packages beginning in the fall of 2013.

The U.S. Department of Education and the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau designed a model financial-aid award letter or Financial Aid Shopping Sheet and received feedback from students, parents, and the higher education community. The sheet is designed to improve college transparency and help consumers compare the true cost of higher education with five basic pieces of information:
•College costs for one year.
•Financial aid, including a clear emphasis on the difference between grants, scholarships, and loans.
•Net cost of attending, after grants and scholarships.
•Estimated monthly payments for the federal student loans the student would likely owe after graduation.
•Statistics on retention, completion, and default rates.

The higher education systems, representing 1.4 million students, who committed to following the proposed standard template include: Arizona State University, Miami Dade College, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, State University System of New York, Syracuse University, University of Massachusetts System, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University System of Maryland, University of Texas System.

In a press conference this afternoon, Secretary Arne Duncan said he’s calling on the country’s other 6,000 colleges to voluntarily adopt the easy-to-use form, which he noted is a triumph of common sense. “It’s difficult to figure out how much college will cost,” he said. “We have to empower parents and students to make a good choice. “

Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB, said that his agency has received thousands of complaints from students who said they didn’t understand the loan process. Many took out higher-interest private loans, used credit cards to pay for tuition, and got in over their heads. “Taking on too much debt can have real consequences,” said Cordray. “We want information to be clear and easy to understand so consumers to make wise decisions.

The Institute for College Access & Success, a Washington-based nonprofit that has advocated more transparency on college costs, issued a press release applauding the White House announcement. “This is a step in the right direction for students and families, who all deserve clear, comparable, and consumer-friendly financial-aid offers. It’s hard enough to figure out how to pay for college without confusing, obscure, or misleading information about costs and aid. Consumers need to know what each college really costs and how much of that cost they will have to save, earn or borrow to cover,” the statement said.

Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said the administration is working in an inclusive way with higher education officials to make improvements for consumers. Last month, NASFAA released recommendations for model financial-aid award letters that may become part of the process moving forward to clarify college costs.

A version of this news article first appeared in the College Bound blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

College & Workforce Readiness Opinion Can College-Going Be Less Risky Without Being 'Free'?
Rick Hess speaks with Peter Samuelson, president of Ardeo Education Solutions, about Ardeo's approach to make paying for college less risky.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion What Will It Take to Get High School Students Back on Track?
Three proven strategies can support high school graduation and postsecondary success—during and after the pandemic.
Robert Balfanz
5 min read
Conceptual illustration of students making choices based on guidance.
Viktoria Kurpas/iStock
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion An Economist Explains How to Make College Pay
Rick Hess speaks with Beth Akers about practical advice regarding how to choose a college, what to study, and how to pay for it.
6 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness What the Research Says College Enrollment Dip Hits Students of Color the Hardest
The pandemic led to a precipitous decline in enrollment for two-year schools, while four-year colleges and universities held steady.
3 min read
Conceptual image of blocks moving forward, and one moving backward.
Marchmeena29/iStock/Getty