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Congressman Matt Cartwright

Representing the 8th District of Pennsylvania

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Cartwright, Davis Introduce Bill to Make Tuition Costs Transparent

Sep 27, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Matt Cartwright (PA-08) and Rodney Davis (IL-13) introduced bipartisan legislation to increase the transparency around tuition costs and to help students plan for the increased costs of higher education.

The Truth-in-Tuition Act would require all institutions of higher education (IHEs) receiving federal funds to provide price models in order to reduce the unpredictability of tuition price increases. Although schools will remain free to set tuition rates as they see fit, they would be required to show families and students a clear model of what they would charge them over the course of their studies.

“As the costs of higher education rise, tuition transparency is more important than ever,” said Congressman Cartwright. “When students aren’t told exactly how much their education will cost, they can end up taking on more student loan debt than they and their families planned for. This bipartisan bill will allow students to avoid unexpected tuition costs and fees as they pursue their educational goals.”

“Student loan debt is now the second largest form of consumer debt with the average person owing $32,000 in student loan debt,” said Congressman Davis. “Not only do we need to work on the back end to help deal with student loan debt, but we need to do more to control the cost of college on the front end and ensure students know exactly what they will owe. More transparency will allow students to plan and hopefully prevent more students from taking out more in loans than is needed. Former Congressman Peter Roskam championed this when he was a state senator in Illinois and I’m proud that my home state already requires this important level of transparency.”

In the past 30 years, average tuition and fees tripled at public four-year institutions; they also more than doubled at public two-year institutions and at private nonprofit four-year institutions, after adjusting for inflation.

Specifically, the Truth-in-Tuition Act amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require all IHEs to provide:

  • A multi-year tuition and fee schedule, which would indicate costs for the normal duration of such student's undergraduate or graduate program, OR
  • A single-year tuition and fee schedule, and a nonbinding multi-year estimate of net costs after financial aid is awarded.

This bill is supported by the Young Invincibles, a national organization focused on the financial health of young Americans.

“Across the country, the skyrocketing cost of tuition is threatening to push a degree out of reach for today’s students -- especially low-income students and students of color,” said Rachel Fleischer, Executive Director of the Young Invincibles. “While higher education is still the best path for a young person to achieve financial security, understanding the true cost of college can be a confusing process for many young people. That’s why the Truth-in-Tuition Act would ensure that every prospective student has the information and support they need to make an informed decision about their next educational step. We applaud Rep. Cartwright for leading the charge on behalf of today’s students and urge Congress to pass the Truth-in-Tuition Act immediately.”

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