Congressman Matt Cartwright

Representing the 17th District of Pennsylvania
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Cartwright, Roskam Introduce Truth-In-Tuition Act to Take Guesswork Out of College Education Costs

Feb 4, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC Today, Congressmen Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Peter Roskam (R-IL) introduced H.R. 4462, the bipartisan Truth-In-Tuition Act, which requires universities and colleges to provide a four-year price model for students and parents so they can plan for the ever-increasing costs of higher education.

“Skyrocketing tuition is inhibiting college access and placing families and students in heavy debt.  While the increases alone are daunting, the unpredictability of the rate hikes creates an added strain on families,” said Rep. Cartwright, who brought the bill to the floor this afternoon.  “Without having the full picture of college costs, students and their families are forced to take on more student loan debt than they originally anticipated.  The total outstanding student loan debt in the United States has surpassed the $1.2 trillion mark.  It has outpaced credit card debt, auto debt, and is second only to mortgage debt.”

The Truth-In-Tuition Act will require private and public universities and colleges to give every student a clear picture of what their degree will cost by using a pricing model, taking the guesswork out of how much and when payments are due throughout their education.

“As parents, we want our children to have every opportunity to succeed.  For many, college education is key to social mobility and individual prosperity.  Staggering and often unpredictable tuition costs make it extremely difficult for the average family to send kids to college,” said Rep. Roskam.  “ Taking the mystery out of the cost of higher education is a critical first step.  Colleges and universities that rely on federal dollars owe it to students and families to provide truth in tuition.”

There are many successful examples of this bill being implemented in states across the country.  In Illinois, public universities and colleges are already required to provide a financial roadmap.  In Idaho, Governor Otter recently proposed implementing a fixed tuition rate in his state’s public colleges and universities.  Individual colleges, such as George Washington University and Baylor have taken it upon themselves to offer fixed four-year tuition rates as well to help provide transparency to these students.  Ultimately, this bill will help create a clear path forward for students so that unforeseen costs don’t inhibit their ability to achieve their higher education goals.

The escalating cost of higher education has been a serious deterrent to students’ ability to afford college. Since 1982, the cost of college tuition and fees is up over 500%, twice the rate of the cost of medical care.  Additionally, in just a decade, from 2002-2012, tuition at public four-year universities and colleges rose by 66 percent beyond the rate of inflation. In that same time period, tuition at private universities and colleges increased by 27 percent beyond the rate of inflation.