College Costs: Comparing Apples To Apples (Opinion)

Ann McClure's picture
Friday, August 3, 2012

College shopping can be a frustrating exercise. Parents and students are likely to find more financial disclosure on credit-card statements than on university financial aid forms.

The Obama administration has urged universities and colleges to daylight their costs. The administration is stepping in with a standardized form breaking down tuition, fees, housing, books and other costs.

One sheet would tell students not just how much a year of college will cost, but options for paying for it. The new form would show estimated monthly payments for federal student loans and graduation rates, a key measure of determining a school's value.

Financial-aid-award letters often contain vague wording and euphemisms that blur the lines between scholarships, grants and loans.

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