Hundreds of colleges are coming together to standardize their financial aid offers in an effort to increase transparency and help students and parents better understand the cost of college.
The College Cost Transparency Initiative (CCT) has brought over 360 higher education institutions together to establish “principles and standards” for communicating financial aid offers.
The current method of communicating financial aid offers has long been criticized for being confusing and unclear to students and parents, making it difficult for families to compare offers from different schools.
While not all financial aid letters will be identical, the schools have agreed to use standardized, simple language and clearly break down the costs of attending the university and the types of financial aid available to students.
CCT, a task force consisting of ten higher education associations, received praise from both sides for their announcement on Tuesday.
“Students and families need transparency, consistency, and clarity when colleges and universities communicate their student financial aid offers so that they are able to make informed decisions about enrolling in and affording higher education,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
“Unfortunately, financial aid offers are often confusing and, in some cases, misleading,” he continued. “I welcome efforts like the College Cost Transparency Initiative’s Principles and Standards that provide clarity when communicating these offers.”
There has been discussion about legislation to compel higher education institutions to make their financial aid offerings more transparent for students.
“The College Cost Transparency Initiative is a significant step in the right direction to ensure that students and families have the best information during the college application process,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee. “In Congress, the Education and the Workforce Committee is working to lower college costs and improve the information available to students and families with legislation like the Cost Transparency and Student Protection Act.”
“Bringing the federal student loan program under control requires action from both lawmakers and postsecondary education institutions, and I’m glad to see we’re working together towards the same goal of greater transparency,” she added.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.