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Shopping Sheet will help students better understand college costs


Friday, July 27, 2012
In an effort to take the surprise out of student debt, President Barack Obama and his administration have taken steps toward keeping students and their families informed about the final cost of attending college.

On January 27, 2012, in a speech at the University of Michigan, President Obama informed the audience that students who graduated in 2010 left college with an average of $24,000 in loan debt.

"Student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt for the first time ever," Obama said. "That’s inexcusable…. Higher education is not a luxury. It’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford."

Creating the Shopping Sheet

To help prospective college students know just how much they will be paying for a degree, the U.S. Department of Education, together with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, introduced the "Shopping Sheet,” a one-page summary of college costs and student borrowing at the applicant’s college of choice.

According to a White House press release, this form, which is intended to be included with a college’s financial aid award notification, will allow students to make more informed college decisions.

"Students should not have to wait until after they graduate to find out the size of their monthly student loan payment," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wrote in an open letter to college presidents. "Families choosing a college should have clear and comparable information in a common format to guide their choice."

What does it include?

The Shopping Sheet is broken into separate categories, such as estimated cost of attendance, grants and scholarships, net costs and options available to cover these costs including loans and college work-study. Based on the information listed, students should have a better understanding of how much they will pay and how much they will owe after graduation.

In addition to tuition figures, the form also includes information about the typical student loan debt at the college and estimates the borrower’s monthly payments based on the total student loan amount.

According to Duncan’s letter, a number of colleges and universities have agreed to begin supplying the Shopping Sheet during the 2013-2014 academic year.ADNFCR-16000756-ID-800828887-ADNFCR

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