Today, Vice President Biden met with the presidents and senior officials of ten colleges, universities, and state systems of higher education from across the country to discuss the importance of providing students and families with transparent information about the cost of attendance and financial aid. Secretary Duncan, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray, and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz also participated in the discussion.
Post-secondary education is a valuable investment – more than 60 percent of new jobs in the next decade will require a credential beyond a high school diploma. But before settling on a school and signing any loan agreements, students and their families need easy-to-understand information regarding how they will finance their education. Colleges and universities already provide some statistics about the cost of attendance and available financial aid, but that information is often not clearly presented to students and their families in a way that facilitates easy comparison among schools. Further, schools usually do not provide important information including an estimate of students’ future loan payments, or data about the likelihood of graduation or loan default.
The colleges and universities participating in today’s roundtable are leading the way toward greater transparency by committing to provide students with some key pieces of information they need to make smart choices regarding where to go to school and how to pay for their degree. Beginning in the 2013-14 academic year, these schools will provide students with this information in one easy-to-understand format. As the Vice President said, this commitment is “going to empower students and their families to be back in the driver’s seat when they’re choosing a college and how to pay for that education.”
This roundtable was the Vice President’s ninth college affordability event since November 2011. It is also part of a larger White House focus on college affordability this week. At the University of Nevada – Las Vegas on Thursday, President Obama will reassert his call for Congress to stop student loan rates from doubling on July 1. He will also issue a Presidential Memorandum to make it easier for students to benefit from the income-based repayment option, which caps borrowers’ monthly student loan payments based on their ability to pay.
Colleges and Universities Committing To Greater Cost and Financial Aid Transparency