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Guthrie Introduces Legislation to Make College Costs More Transparent

Washington, March 28, 2019
Tags: Education

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02), a senior member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), this week 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 4-year university is rising every year,” said Congressman Guthrie. “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.”

“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. 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,” said Congressman Cummings.  “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.”

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, students cannot easily find the price calculator on their preferred college’s website.

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.

Last year, the House passed Guthrie’s Empowering Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act to improve the timing, frequency, and content of financial aid counseling for college students.

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