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ERIC Number: ED553382
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov-27
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Is College Affordable? Are Loans Manageable? What Do Colleges' Net Price Calculators Show? Policy Bulletin
Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance
A review of net price calculators--a financial aid tool mandated by the "Higher Education Opportunity Act" of 2008--reveals that students from low-, moderate-, and middle-income families face record-level net prices at 4-year public colleges today. These net prices will translate into levels of average total loan burden far in excess of $27,000--the level often cited in current policy discussions as total borrowing by students who have completed college. While this level is useful in assessing whether loan burden is reasonable and manageable for those who have completed college, it cannot be used to assess whether the total level of borrowing that families must undertake to finance completion of a bachelor's degree today is manageable. Today's net prices at 4-year public colleges and universities will take an enormous toll on the enrollment, persistence, and completion rates of students from low-, moderate-, and middle-income families, even if income-contingent loan repayment is improved and expanded. Failing to increase total need-based grant aid, which data from net price calculators show is clearly inadequate, will greatly exacerbate these losses and undermine student success. To be useful to policymakers, the higher education community's conversation about college completion, need-based grant aid, and student loan policy must be based on a frank and accurate assessment of the loan levels required to complete a bachelor's degree today and in the future.
Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. 80 F Street NW Suite 413, Washington, DC 20202-7582. Tel: 202-219-2099; Fax: 202-219-3032; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance