Bringing clearness to College Costs

More and more, Americans understand the serious role that earning a college degree plays in their lives, with prospects for higher earnings and additional advancements that extend throughout their careers. However, one of the greatest challenges Americans face is the growing cost of higher education.

To help students make knowledgeable decisions about their choice for higher education, today the Department of Education launched an online College Affordability and Transparency Center on the Department of Education’s College Navigator website. As part of this Center, the Department posted lists that show up institutions with the highest tuition prices, highest net prices, and institutions whose prices are rising at the fastest rates. Institutions whose prices are increasing the fastest will report why costs have gone up and how the institution will speak to rising prices. The Department will summarize these reports and make them publicly obtainable to parents and students.

The President has been committed to making higher education more reasonable, and today’s announcement complements our ongoing efforts. Since taking office, we have worked to get bigger student aid, improve options to repay student loans, and give more students access to higher education. We have also improved consumer information on the FAFSA and on the College Navigator portal, a resource that can give information on thousands of institutions of higher education across the nation. These existing tools will complement the revealing resources newly available today.

But colleges also have a role to play as we work to ease the financial load of higher education. In his State of the Union address last year, the President called on colleges to do a enhanced job of keeping costs down. Additionally, state budget constraints present rising challenges for affordability. Too often the answer has been to cut aid to public colleges and augment tuition, pushing the financial burden on families previously struggling to make ends meet.

Ultimately, better information alone will not cure the problem of college affordability. However, it will improve the choices and decisions made by families as they pursue higher education. The new College Transparency and Affordability Center is just a first step in helping students better appreciate their path in postsecondary education; the Administration will continue to promote clearness in educational costs that will help all current and prospective students of higher education make a smart investment in their postsecondary studies.