Update on Net Price Calculators, Cohort Default Rates, and the Shopping Sheet

One Year Later, Many College Net Price Calculators Still Hard to Find, Use, Compare

Our new report, Adding It All Up 2012: Are College Net Price Calculators Easy to Find, Use, and Compare?, examines the state of net price calculators nearly a year after almost all U.S. colleges were required to post them on their websites. These online tools are supposed to help consumers look past "sticker price" and get an early, individualized estimate of what a specific college might cost them. Our in-depth look at 50 randomly selected colleges' calculators found that many are difficult for students and their families to find, use, and compare. The report includes specific recommendations for colleges and the U.S. Department of Education to make net price calculators more useful to all students and families.

Student Loan Default Rates Show Continued Borrower Distress

New data released by the U.S. Department of Education confirm that student loan default continues to plague far too many borrowers. However, the data paint an uneven picture behind the overall trend, with very different default rates for borrowers at different types of schools. TICAS helped shape national news coverage of the new default rates, emphasizing the need to connect more struggling borrowers with Income-Based Repayment (IBR) before they default, and calling on the Department of Education to respond to overwhelming evidence that some for-profit colleges are gaming their default rates.    

More than 1.9 Million Students to Receive Clearer Information on College Costs

Earlier this year, the Department of Education issued a Financial Aid Shopping Sheet, designed to make it easy for students and their families to understand and compare the real cost of the different colleges to which they have been accepted. We at TICAS urged all colleges to adopt this consumer-friendly format, and the Department reports that 316 institutions serving more than 1.9 million undergraduate students (or 10 percent of all undergraduates) have agreed to adopt the Shopping Sheet beginning in school year 2013-14.