Ernst: Biparty solutions will empower Iowa students
Give students and families the information they need to make academic choices
A high school graduation ceremony in Mount Pleasant.
Over the next few weeks, high school students in Iowa and across the country will don their hats and gowns to receive their high school diplomas. Many of them will look forward to attending university in the fall. It is an exciting time in the lives of so many young adults, but for many families it also comes with the stress of deciding what type of higher education makes financial sense.
As a mother, I know how important it is for our children to have the best opportunities to learn, grow and succeed, including in higher education. But with tuition and college tuition fees continuing to skyrocket, Iowa students and their families are falling into more debt.
That’s why I joined my fellow Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and Democratic Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota in bringing forward three bipartisan bills that would help provide students and their families with better information on the costs of education. university, from initial research to university, through the application process, to finally accepting financial aid.
Our first bill, the Improved Net Pricing Act, would improve efficiency and access to tools that provide students with early and individualized estimates of higher education and financial aid costs. before deciding where to apply. The bill would also provide more transparency for schools by requiring them to put these tools on public web pages where students and families are likely to search for information on costs and admissions.
Another law, the Understanding the True Cost of College Act, would create a universal financial aid award letter so that students could easily compare financial aid programs between schools. It would clarify the specific financial aid that families could receive from a particular school and create standard conditions for the aid offered so that students can easily and accurately compare offers from different higher education institutions.
And our third bill, the Know Before You Owe Federal Student Loan Act, would make counseling an annual requirement before new student loans are disbursed, rather than for first-time borrowers. It would also allow people to decide exactly how much to borrow rather than having the maximum possible amount by default.
While there is a lot of work to be done to tackle the costs associated with university tuition fees and the challenges of student loan debt, these bipartisan efforts are a good place to start. These are common sense solutions that will give our next generation of leaders the tools they need to make the decisions that are best for them and their mothers and dads. Given the challenges of the past year, we must do all we can to ease the burden on hard-working families – and I hope my colleagues will support us in these efforts.
Joni Ernst represents Iowa in the United States Senate.