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Cummings, Issa, and Hinojosa Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Make College Costs More Transparent

Dec 11, 2013
Press Release

Washington, D.C.—Today, Reps. Elijah E. Cummings and Darrell E. Issa, the Ranking Member and Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, joined with Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, Ranking Member of the Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee, in introducing H.R. 3694, the Net Price Calculator Improvement Act of 2013, which would significantly improve existing Net Price Calculators used by students and their families to estimate the costs of attending college.

“Our common-sense legislation will provide more reliable and consistent information about the costs of attending college so students and their families can make more informed and responsible decisions when picking the best schools to fit their needs,” said Cummings.  “This increased transparency will enable more students to confidently pursue higher education.”

“As the price of higher education continues to rise far above inflation levels, creating transparency about actual costs becomes more and more important for families, students, and even the federal government,” said Issa.  “This legislation offers one more advantage to help make an apples to apples comparison about institutions of higher learning.”

“Enrolling in college is one of the biggest milestones students and their families have to face during their lifetime,” said Hinojosa. “The financial impact alone can be daunting and this is precisely why we must make certain that the data they receive concerning comparisons and cross checking is transparent.  It is about doing what is right for students and their families.  Being better informed will assist them in the enrolling process and creates a more inviting entry experience in the pursuit of higher education."

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

The Net Price Calculator Improvement Act of 2013 would improve existing law by requiring higher education institutions to display prominently the costs of tuition, room, board, and other expenses on their websites, improving the usefulness of these tools for students and their families.  The bill also would protect students using the tools from personal data collection and  authorize the Secretary of Education to create a universal calculator at the Department of Education to enable students to easily and quickly compare college cost estimates.

The Net Price Calculator Improvement Act of 2013 is supported by the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators, Institute for College Access and Success, Consumer Union, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, American Association of Community Colleges, Council for Opportunity in Education, Institute for Higher Education Policy, Young Invincibles, Center for Responsible Lending, US PIRG, National Association for College Admission Counseling, Americans for Financial Reform, and Veterans Education Success.

113th Congress