Congressman Joe Courtney today introduced new legislation to help students and their families gain more information about their financial aid options for higher education and a truer picture of actual college costs. The Understanding the True Cost of College Act, which already has 11 cosponsors, would ensure that students and their families receive award letters in a standard format with understandable language and easy-to-understand terms.
"For many college-bound students, the hardest part of the process is no longer getting into college, but figuring out how to pay for it," said Congressman Courtney. "With college costs having grown exponentially in recent decades, determining what financial aid an institution has provided and how much a student can and is willing to pay can be a difficult process with long-term financial impacts. Students and their families are faced with complicated financial questions, exacerbated by financial aid letters that can be difficult to understand. This legislation would simplify the process, and help students and families better understand documents that can affect them for decades."
Courtney's legislation mirrors S. 3244 -- a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this year by Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota. It would require colleges to create a uniform financial aid award letter and include standard terms and disclosures in the letter. The legislation also requires the letters to include key items such as: cost of attendance, the amount of aid students do not have to repay such as grants, the net cost after subtracting grant aid, work study, federal student loans, disclosures related to private student loans, and cohort default rates at the institution.
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