Kim offers bipartisan Understanding the True Cost of College Act

U.S. Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) on Nov. 17 sponsored a bipartisan bill to streamline and improve transparency of the college financial aid process. 

“After putting myself through school and raising four children, I have seen as a student and as a parent how confusing the financial aid process can be,” Rep. Kim said. “At a time when Americans are seeing record-high prices on everyday goods and are working hard to make ends meet, families need transparency and need the most accurate information regarding the cost of college and available education options.” 

Rep. Kim introduced the Understanding the True Cost of College Act of 2021, H.R. 6002, alongside original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) to require a standard financial aid form, among other provisions, according to the congressional record bill summary.

“I’m glad to work with Rep. Krishnamoorthi to introduce the Understanding the True Cost of College Act to streamline financial aid information so families can make the best, informed decision and students can reduce the chance for college debt,” said Rep. Kim. “I will keep doing everything I can to make life more affordable for the Californians I represent.”

Additionally, H.R. 6002 would require the U.S. Department of Education to work with colleges, consumer groups, students, and school guidance counselors to develop standard definitions for financial aid award letters, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Kim’s office.

H.R. 6002 also would establish basic minimums of information to be included on page one of the uniform financial aid offer form, such as cost of attendance, grant aid, the net amount a student is responsible for paying after subtracting grant aid, work study assistance, eligible amounts of federal student loans, information on calculating the costs of repaying student loans, disclosures related to private loans and parent loans, treatment of scholarships, and the terms and conditions of federal financial aid, the summary says.

The same-named S. 1452, which is the companion bill to H.R. 6002, was introduced in April by U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Joni Ernst (R-IA).

The bill is endorsed by 35 organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Veterans Education Success, the University of California Student Association, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, NAACP, Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust, the National Scholarship Providers Association, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, the California EDGE Coalition, New America, and The Institute for College Access and Success, among others.

“This legislation will help students more clearly understand their cost and financial aid including federal student loan options. It will allow students to easily make apples-to-apples comparisons of financial aid packages from every college at which they’ve been accepted,” said Rachel Fishman, deputy director for Higher Education Research at New America.