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Turner Bill Would Give Consumers More Information On Colleges

A bill sponsored by Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer) that would require all four-year colleges in New Jersey to provide more comprehensive information about the actual cost of attendance was approved 5-0 today by the Senate Education Committee.

The bill (S-2776) would require schools to post the information on their websites, along with information on the graduation rates of admitted students and information on the faculty. The “New Jersey College Student and Parent Consumer Information Act,” would ensure such information is updated annually.

“This bill will help prospective students and their families make decisions about attending college by giving them the kind of real-world information they need to assess each institution,” Sen. Turner said. “In addition to putting the information on their websites, the colleges and universities would have to make sure a written copy of the information prepared for the website is included with every paper application sent out.”

The bill would require each four-year public institution of higher education to conform to the guidelines, criteria and format prescribed by the Commission on Higher Education in reporting the required information.

They would also have to submit their student consumer information reports to the Commission on Higher Education for inclusion in a comparative profile of the student consumer information reports of all four-year public institutions of higher education.

The bill would ensure the page of its Internet site that includes its student consumer information report contains a link to the comparative profile of student consumer information reports on the Commission on Higher Education’s Internet site.

The Internet site for submitting an online application to the institution will have to contain a link to the institution’s student consumer information report. The parent or guardian of a student applying for admission into the institution, or the student if he is an independent adult, would have to sign and submit a statement acknowledging they have reviewed the institution’s student consumer information report.

“With these changes, students and their families will be sure to know the all the costs associated with enrollment in a particular institution, not just the obvious ones like tuition and room and board,” Sen. Turner said. “They would also get valuable data on the institution’s success in ensuring the graduation of its students, and the composition of the teaching faculty that a student will encounter.”

The bill would direct the Commission on Higher Education to issue guidelines and criteria for collecting and calculating the information required to be reported. The commission would be further directed to prescribe a uniform reporting method for the posting of the information.

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