College cost tool useful for students
The cost of attending college has risen for the past several years, and many students have a hard time grasping the effects of student loans and comparing the many costs of higher education. President Barack Obama’s administration is attempting to aid students in deciding which university is financially feasible for them and their families before the first bill arrives.
The Obama administration announced last Monday that they created a new system for prospective students to compare college costs.
The system allows students to compare information on each college’s estimated cost of attendance, financial aid rewards and other options to pay for education. It also lists other vital information, such as the university’s graduation rate and the average loans accumulated by students.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called the system a college “shopping sheet” to compare costs, and asked universities to “unravel the mystery of education.”
College costs can be perplexing. Before this shopping sheet was introduced, many websites often gave different numbers for the estimated cost of attending certain universities, making it difficult for students to compare costs between different institutions.
Some estimated prices factored in an estimated cost of living, inflating it thousands of dollars above others, therefore confusing students who attempted to calculate tuition prices and the cost of room and board.
Obama has been working to make college cost and affordability a priority during his campaign season, and he has continued to work to help students comprehend the costs of higher education and the risks student loans pose.
These loans are putting students deep into debt before they earn an occupation postgraduation. A portion of the stress has been alleviated for many students, as Congress recently passed a bill preventing federal Stafford subsidized loan interest rates from doubling from 3.4 to 6.8 percent for one year.
But many students continue to take out thousands of dollars in loans every year without the understanding of how far they are putting themselves in debt and without the means to pay these loans off.
Although this shopping sheet can help students compare the costs of college and formulate a concrete number for what they and their family will be spending annually for school, the responsibility still falls on students to make sure they use this resource accurately in calculating these costs.
The sheet will help to provide students with numbers from the university to help formulate a complete price, but students must keep in mind what is financially feasible before deciding on a university that could put them too far into debt.
The Obama administration has taken another step to show a level of compassion for prospective college students.
Now, these students must decide what is possible for them and their families when comparing the costs of college, before they face the financial shock of the first bill from a university or the first payment of a loan.