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Patrick Murphy Passes Measure to Make College Costs More Predictable, Affordable

Press Release

Location: Bristol, PA

Patrick Murphy Passes Measure to Make College Costs More Predictable, Affordable

8th District Congressman and Former West Point Professor Introduces and Passes Amendment to Make Planning for College Easier for Families

In an effort to make college more affordable, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) today, hailed the passage of his legislation in Congress that makes planning for college easier and more predictable. At a press conference at Bristol High School - with local students and parents - Rep. Murphy talked about his amendment to the College Opportunity and Affordability Act. On this piece of bipartisan legislation, Murphy partnered with North Carolina Republican Sue Myrick. Murphy and Myrick's measure - known as Truth in Tuition - seeks to give parents and students more time and flexibility to plan for college. At a time when college tuition has risen 40% over the last five years and when costs have jumped sharply between semesters, putting a "sticker price" on a college education would make planning and paying for college easier for families. Congressman Murphy's amendment passed the House and was included as part of the larger College Opportunity and Affordability Act which passed with bipartisan support.

"It's time to be straight with American families about how much a college education is going to cost. With this measure, students will know how much their education is going to cost from the start - and that means fewer surprise tuition hikes and plenty of time to plan financially," said Congressman Patrick Murphy. "I was proud to work with Democrats and Republicans to make college more affordable, more accessible and to make costs more predictable for families."

"I don't believe it's too much for families to ask a university for a "best guess" as to what their child's education will cost. With this amendment and this bill, we can remove cost as an obstacle to a college degree and continue to teach the next generation of American leaders," added Murphy.

"When schools can set multi-year contracts with food vendors, landscapers, their basketball coaches, and even their presidents; it's hard for average Americans to understand why schools can't set multi-year tuition rates so they know the total estimated cost of their child's education. I'm proud to reach across the aisle and work with Congressman Murphy in passing legislation to fix that problem," said Rep. Myrick.

About Truth in Tuition
The Truth in Tuition amendment would give colleges and universities two options on how to better inform students about costs as well as incentives for providing more information upfront for students and families. The first option would be for schools to give incoming freshmen a multi-year tuition and fee schedule. Under this option, tuition for all four years would be given to students ahead of time and those rates would be binding, unless the college or university was to apply for a waiver from the Secretary of Education. The other option for schools would be to give students a single-year tuition and fee schedule as well as the average deviation in tuition between previous years. Under this option schools would have to provide students with an individual and customized look at what tuition and fees - including financial aid - they would face during their time in that school.

About the College Opportunity and Affordability Act
The College Opportunity and Affordability Act (H.R. 4137) seeks to reform and strengthen the nation's higher education programs to ensure that they operate in the best interests of students and families. The legislation is the second major step that the 110th Congress has taken to make college more affordable and accessible for all qualified students. Last year, Congress enacted into law a $20 billion increase in college financial aid over the next five years, the largest increase in student aid since the G.I. Bill of 1944.

The College Opportunity and Affordability Act is a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the primary federal law aimed at expanding college access for low- and middle-income students. It comes on the heels of an October 2007 report from the College Board showed that public and private tuitions have increased across the board over the past five years. The bill would address these rising prices by encouraging colleges to rein in price increases, ensuring that states maintain their commitments to higher education funding, and providing students and families with consumer friendly information on college pricing and the factors driving tuition increases. The legislation also strengthens provisions previously approved by the House to avoid conflicts of interest in the student loan programs. The bill's new provisions include requiring better consumer disclosures and protections on private student loans. In addition, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act seeks to streamline the federal student financial aid application process, make textbooks more affordable and allow students to receive year-round Pell Grant scholarships among other important goals.

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