College student on campus. Getty Images.
A new higher education bill would require Ohio colleges and universities to be more transparent and forthcoming with costs, financial aid, student loan repayment, and alumni income.
House Bill 27 was introduced last month by state Rep. Adam Mathews, R-Lebanon, and state Rep. Jim Thomas, R-Jackson Twp.
“This simple common sense bill will help graduating seniors and their families set themselves up for success while highlighting the great value of our state institutions,” Mathews said Wednesday morning during the Higher Education Committee meeting.
This bill would be for state universities and colleges, community colleges and state community colleges, university branches, and technical colleges.
Under HB 27, newly admitted students would receive the financial cost and aid disclosure form after completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
“This type of disclosure form is common in other financial areas,” Thomas said. “… We are asking universities to provide a summary page for a student’s return on their investment in higher education.”
The bill would require higher education institutions to disclose costs associated with general and instruction fees, room and board, and special fees.
It would also spell out all available sources of financial aid a student is eligible for and how to maintain the aid including grants, scholarships, student loans, and work study programs.
HB 27 would require colleges and universities to provide the student’s expected monthly education loan repayment after graduating.
Institutions would also provide students with the income range for the 25th and 75th percentile of the most recent cohort of graduates and the cohort of graduates who graduated five years earlier. If a student has declared a major or enrolled in a particular school, colleges and universities would also be required to include income ranges for those graduates as well.
Much of this information is already readily available to students.
The United States Department of Education has a Net Price Calculator Center and colleges and universities also have a net price calculator on their websites. The Net Price is the amount of money a student pays to go to an institution in an academic year after subtracting scholarships and grants.
It’s not clear how much it would cost colleges and universities to include all the information that is detailed in HB 27.
Mathews said he was originally told $500,000 per institution and that number was later revised to $120,000. He said he would bring an expert to discuss costs at a future committee meeting.
After being asked a question by state Rep. Gail Pavliga, R-Portage County, Mathews said he would like to share this information with high school guidance counselors to help high schoolers make decisions about higher education.
“We want them to see what they are going into with eyes wide open because there are many, many stories of people going to college and seeing the costs are exorbitant and then they drop out and it’s a terrible situation,” he said.
In other news, House Bill 6 — which would keep trans athletes from participating in women’s sports in college and youth athletics — was taken off the Higher Education Committee’s agenda for Wednesday’s meeting earlier in the week.
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