The White House is taking steps to improve cost of college transparency, according to an Obama administration official. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to meet with schools today to develop ways to help students better understand how much they’re paying for school directly or via financial aid.
Students Uninformed about Impact of Student Loan Debt
The Obama administration says that students aren’t well-informed when it comes to the cost of college. As tuition continues to increase at schools around the country, more students are racking up student loan debt without understanding the impact it could have later in life.
Currently, Congress is in the middle of politically-charged standoff over maintaining low interest rates on federal student loans. If no action is taken, rates will double to 6.8 percent on July 1, which would add new costs for students who are struggling to pay off already-existing debt.
With the threat of an increase in student loan rates, it becomes even more important that students understand how much they’re paying for college now and how much their student loan debt will cost in the future.
Keeping the Cost of College Transparent
Biden is expected to lead a meeting with presidents from 10 private colleges and state university systems to discuss how to provide better cost of college transparency.
The institutions, which serve 1.4 million students — or about 5 percent of college enrollees — are required to find ways to provide “clear and useful” information to students and their families. Some information colleges could provide includes:
- Cost of college for one year
- Options for paying tuition and costs (grants, scholarships, student loans, etc.)
- Differences between types of financial aid (which ones are repaid and which aren’t)
- An example of student loan debt payments due for federal loans after graduation, along with information about default rates
Participants in the meeting include Arizona State University, Miami Dade College, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, the State University System of New York, Syracuse University in New York, the University of Massachusetts System, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University System of Maryland, the University of Texas System, and Vassar College in New York.
The participants, with the support of the White House, are expected to develop new measures and incorporate them into financial packages for incoming students in the 2013-2014 school year.