The Department of Education has released a new tool it says will help consumers understand the costs of higher education before making the choice of whether, and where, to enroll.
Dubbed the “Shopping Sheet,” the Obama administration introduced today nationally standardized financial aid award letters they say will lay out all costs associated with a particular school, while tailored to the individual student. Loan interest rates, scholarship options, housing rent, food, books, and veterans benefits will all be displayed on this single form, serving as a calculator.
The design is aesthetically similar to the costs sheet displayed in new vehicle windows at auto dealerships, and would be distributed by colleges in their financial aid packages.
Colleges and universities already make all of this information available to potential students, but some schools have been criticized for confusing language in awards letters and the difficulty in piecing together the numbers scattered across an abundance of school-related correspondence.