Guthrie introduces legislation to make college costs transparent

Published 12:14 pm Thursday, April 11, 2019

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From staff reports

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02), a senior member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, along with Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), recently introduced the Net Price Calculator Improvement Act.
The bipartisan Net Price Calculator Improvement Act would increase the transparency and accessibility of college costs by improving existing calculators used by students and their families to estimate the costs of attending college.
“College is simply too expensive, and the cost of attending a traditional four-year university is rising every year,” Guthrie said. “Americans are carrying more than $1.4 trillion in student debt, which currently exceeds auto loan debt – but when you buy a car, you know how much it is going to cost you. Students and parents deserve transparent information about how much it is going to cost to go to school. I was proud to introduce the Net Price Calculator Improvement Act with Rep. Cummings to make it easier for students to compare college prices and determine the cost of attending the school of their choice.”
Congress first required colleges to offer Net Price Calculator tools in 2008, but the implementation of this requirement has been inconsistent and has led to confusion among students and institutions over the specific data provided by the calculator. In many cases, it has been reported students cannot easily find the price calculator on their preferred college’s website
“For millions of students each year, the decision of which college or university to attend and how to pay for it is one of the most important of their lives,” Cummings said. “This decision, especially for first-generation and low-income students, is made far too often without a clear understanding of how much their education is going to cost. The Net Price Calculator Improvement Act will increase the transparency of college costs, and provide students and their families with more information to estimate how much they need to borrow, earn, or save to create the best educational outcomes.”
The Net Price Calculator Improvement Act would improve existing law by requiring higher education institutions to display prominently on their websites the costs of tuition, room and board and other expenses.  The bill also requires the Secretary of Education to conduct consumer testing to improve upon the universal net price calculator on the Department of Education website and report to Congress about the increased effectiveness expected with the changes.

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