HIGHER EDUCATION FINANCIAL LITERACY COUNSELING BILL

By Bob Katzen

The Higher Education Committee is considering a measure that authorizes the Board of Higher Education to require that all public colleges and universities provide students with financial literacy counseling once the student is accepted to the school. The bill also authorizes the board to provide students with a financial aid shopping sheet developed by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the United States Department of Education. The sheet would include the full estimated cost of attending college, including tuition and fees, housing and meals, books and supplies, transportation and other education costs as well as grants, scholarships, work-study and loan options.

“There are more than 45 million student loan borrowers in the United States with an average debt per borrower of $27,975,” said the bill’s sponsor House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading.) “To reduce the likelihood of significant financial stress after their postsecondary education is completed, students need to clearly understand their borrowing options. By making currently available data more accessible, easier to understand, and easier to compare, [the proposal] will help students better identify colleges that provide the best value and fit based on their individual circumstances, needs and goals.”

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