Today, Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) introduced H.R. 2020, the bipartisan Truth-In-Tuition Act, which requires universities and colleges to provide a four-year price model for students and parents so they can plan for the ever-increasing costs of higher education.
"Skyrocketing tuition is inhibiting college access and placing families and students in heavy debt. While the increases alone are daunting, the unpredictability of the rate hikes creates an added strain on families," said Cartwright, who brought the bill to the floor this afternoon. "Without having the full picture of college costs, students and their families are forced to take on more student loan debt than they originally anticipated. The total outstanding student loan debt in the United States has surpassed the $1 trillion mark. It has outpaced credit card debt, auto debt, and is second only to mortgage debt."
The Truth-In-Tuition Act will require private and public universities and colleges to give every student a clear picture of what their degree will cost by using a pricing model, taking the guesswork out of how much and when payments are due throughout their education. There are many successful examples of this bill being implemented in states across the country. In Illinois, public universities and colleges are already required to provide a financial roadmap. Individual colleges, such as George Washington University, Baylor, Central Michigan University, and The University of Minnesota, have taken it upon themselves to put in place fixed four-year tuition rates as well to help provide transparency to these students. Ultimately, this bill will help create a clear path forward for students so that unforeseen costs don't inhibit their ability to achieve their higher education goals.
"The staggering and unpredictable costs of a college education makes it difficult for many Americans to realize the dream of a higher education. Too many students end up dropping out of a four-year institution because the financial burden becomes too great. For those that graduate with college loans, many enter the workforce with massive debt that can take decades to pay off. We must take the mystery out of the cost of higher education. For the colleges and universities that rely on federal dollars, it is only reasonable that Congress demand these institutions provide transparency for the students and families that pay tuition," said Roskam.
The escalating cost of higher education has been a serious deterrent to students' ability to afford college. Since 1982, the cost of college tuition and fees is up 582%, twice the rate of the cost of medical care. Additionally, in just a decade, from 2002-2012, tuition at public four-year universities and colleges has risen by 66 percent beyond the rate of inflation. In that same time period, tuition at private universities and colleges has increased by 27 percent beyond the rate of inflation.