“Shopping sheet” reveals the real price of college
Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 23:08
The U.S. Department of Education released a financial aid “shopping sheet” Tuesday, which is designed to help students understand and compare the costs of attending various universities.
The shopping sheet, which will go into effect fall 2013, will allow students to easily see the net cost of attending a university after subtracting grants and scholarships from the total cost.
“We must unravel the mystery of higher education pricing by giving students and families the information they need,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a major proponent of the shopping sheet, said. “The shopping sheet is a positive step in that direction.”
For many students throughout the nation, the shopping sheet will make a difficult process easier to understand.
A sample form of the sheet from the DOE’s website allows prospective students to get a glimpse of the document’s layout, which includes sections detailing net costs, work options and loan options for students. The sheet even displays the respective institution’s graduation and loan default rates.
“I believe [the shopping sheet] will be helpful,” Jakob Brouwer, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, said. “With this information given up front, students will spend less time researching and more time deciding which school to attend.”
According to a Cal State University June press release, the CSU played a key role in developing the College Portrait of Undergraduate Education, a site designed to help students compare college costs.
“We already provide a lot of similar information,” CSU Spokesman Erik Fallis said. “We welcome this move toward transparency.”
Students currently applying to Cal State Long Beach have the opportunity to use College Portrait to estimate what it will cost to attend the university.
“I think it’s about time that this initiative is finally happening,” Ranil Weerackoon, a sophomore mathematics major, said. “Students should flat-out know the full cost of college.”
The development of the shopping sheet took many months, according to the DOE In order to make the sheet as transparent as possible, the DOE worked with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
President F. King Alexander was invited to attend a June meeting at the White House to discuss the shopping sheet but was unable to attend.