Ohio House passes bill requiring schools to be transparent about the real cost of college

Ohio House Bill 27 passed the Ohio State House of Representatives on May 24, by a vote of 88-1.

The bill requires colleges and universities to disclose the total cost of a degree, including fees and expenses, financial aid, cost of repaying student loans, and career/income prospects.

The Ohio State House of Representatives passed a bill to increase financial transparency in higher education.

Ohio House Bill 27 passed the Ohio State House of Representatives on May 24, by a vote of 88-1. The bill “would require public colleges and universities in the state to send students who qualify for financial aid a one-page ‘financial cost and aid disclosure form.’”

“Ohioans will be able to make informed decisions on their educational careers, setting student and families up for success,” Ohio State Rep. Adam Matthews said in a statement to Campus Reform. Matthews added that he expects the bill to pass the State Senate with “nearly universal support,” and be signed by Governor Mike DeWine. 

“Ohio is on the leading edge of this issue, and I therefore hope other states and the federal government will follow us in creating more transparency,” he added.

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The form included in the students’ packets would explain the total cost of a degree, including:

  • The aggregate cost of attending, including general and instructional fees;
  • Special fees charged the particular university charges;
  • The cost of room and board.

It must also include information on all available sources of financial aid, including:

  • Any grants and scholarships, along with the requirements for maintaining eligibility;
  • Federal student loans, both subsidized and unsubsidized;
  • Work-study programs, including the requirements to maintain eligibility.

The form must then include an expected net cost of attendance when the financial aid is applied to the aggregate cost of attendance.

The document must then include the expected monthly cost of repaying student loans after graduation. It would also require institutions to share data on outcomes post-graduation. This would include “income range between the twenty-fifth and seventy-fifth percentiles” of the most recent graduating class and the class that graduated five years prior. For students who have declared a major or enrolled in a particular school of a college or university, this would include “income ranges for graduates who had that major or were enrolled in that school.”

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This is not the beginning of the conversation regarding financial transparency in higher education. 

In March, Campus Reform reported that the House Committee on Education and the Workforce sent a letter to the Secretary of Education asking for records of enforcement of Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Section 117 requires any higher education institution that “is owned or controlled by a foreign source or receives a gift from or enters into a contract with a foreign source, the value of which is $250,000 or more” to file a disclosure with the Secretary of Education.