Making sense (and cents) out of rising college costs

Nationwide tuition debt now tops $1 trillion – surpassing credit card debt as the biggest source of unsecured debt for Americans.

That staggering figure has prompted the U.S. Education Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to team up to help students and their parents better understand the true cost of college.

On Monday, Secretary Arne Duncan unveiled a standardized ‘Shopping Sheet’  which breaks down the  total estimated annual costs (tuition, fees, housing, books and supplies, transportation, and other expenses) as well as what options are available for repaying any loans a student takes out.

The Shopping Sheet comes as campuses in the UNC system will be raising tuition and fees an average of 8.8 percent for the 2012-13 school year.

“Students should know before they owe,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “But unfortunately, we have heard from so many student-loan borrowers who say that they simply did not understand what they signed up for. The Financial Aid Shopping Sheet gives students real numbers and a clear format that makes sense of a huge financial undertaking that too often is complex and confusing.”

The Education Department is hoping the easy to understand worksheet is adopted by colleges and universities nationwide as part of their financial aid award packages starting in the 2013-14 school year.

To download a pdf copy of  the Shopping Sheet, click here.


One Comment

  1. Lee

    July 25, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Knowing the true cost of higher education is certainly the first step. However in today’s environment paying for college requires knowing the goal and accessing several funding sources (scholarships, parents and relatives, the student, loans, etc.). The FiPath College Registry provides a new and unique way (at no charge) for parents and students to use crowd source funding to obtain funds from select friends and relatives. I would recommend that all parents and students take a look and incorporate this concept into their funding plan. http://collegeregistry.fipath.com/Home/Landing

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