Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said Wednesday that a new commitment from hundreds of colleges and universities will help improve student costs and financial aid transparency so students can make informed decisions. Photo by Yuri Gripas | License Photo
Sept. 27 (UPI) -- A task force on university and college price transparency announced that more than 360 higher education institutions have committed to transparency and clarity on financial aid and student costs.
The College Transparency Initiative said Tuesday the "monumental commitment" by the colleges and universities responds to the needs of students and their families.
"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. Unfortunately, financial aid offers are often confusing and, in some cases, misleading," U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement.
Cardona added that he welcomes efforts like the College Cost Transparency Initiative's principles and standards because they provide clarity when communicating these offers.
Those principles include making costs understandable for students by including the most accurate estimates possible of student costs, offering all types of aid and creating financial aid offers in formats that best serve the needs of unique student populations.
The standards advocated by the CTI include listing the type and source of all financial aid, giving an estimated net price to the student and clearly labeling loans when they are part of the financial aid offers.
This commitment comes as government continues to scrutinize the financial aid offers colleges and universities present to students.
, "The College Cost Transparency Initiative is a big step in the right direction towards making sure that students and families have the best information during the college application process," House Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., said in a statement. "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."
A pause on student loan payments that had been enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic is ending, with payments on those loans required to resume in October.
The College Cost Transparency Initiative is a task force organized to improve the clarity, accuracy and understanding of student financial aid offers by providing principles and standards to guide how higher education institutions present the offers.
It was formed by the leaders of 10 higher education associations representing college presidents, financial aid offices, and admissions and guidance counselors. The CCT said it developed the principles and recommendations with broad consultation and recommendations from the higher education community.