Cummings, Hinojosa Introduce Legislation to Make College Costs More Transparent

Feb 11, 2016
Press Release
Bill Would Allow American Families to Make Informed Decisions When Selecting Colleges

Washington, D.C. (Feb. 11, 2016)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) introduced H.R. 4533, the Net Price Calculator Improvement Act of 2016, which would improve existing calculators used by students and their families to estimate the costs of attending college.

“Students and their families deserve reliable information about the costs of attending college in order to make informed decisions,” Cummings said.  “I hope Congress will pass this common-sense legislation—which passed the House in 2014—and send it to the President’s desk so we can increase transparency and help more students accurately compare college cost estimates.”

“The financial pressure of enrolling in and attending colleges and universities in our country can be highly stressful and burdensome,” said Hinojosa. “In response, the Net Price Calculator Improvement Act will provide aspiring students and their families with current and accurate data to consider their options and arrive at a more informed decision that will be among the most important and transformative in their lives. We must ensure greater cost transparency and affordability to create a more inviting experience in the pursuit of higher education.”

Congress first required Net Price Calculator tools in 2008 when it reauthorized the Higher Education Act, but implementation has been inconsistent and has led to confusion among students and institutions over the specific data provided by the calculator.

The Net Price Calculator Improvement Act of 2016 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 would protect students using the tools from personal data collection, and it would authorize the Secretary of Education to create a universal calculator to enable students to easily and quickly compare college cost estimates.

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

On July 23, 2014, the House of Representatives passed the Net Price Calculator Improvement Act as part of H.R. 4983, the Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act.  

114th Congress