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Kaine Co-Sponsors Bill To Offer Students, Families A Better Early Estimate Of College Costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined U.S. Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in supporting bipartisan legislation to give students and families a better estimate of college costs before they apply to schools. By increasing awareness of scholarships and financial aid, the bill would also encourage more low and middle-income students to pursue higher education.

“College affordability is an issue students and families are dealing with here in the Commonwealth and throughout the country,” Kaine said. “By providing more accurate cost estimates, we can help students plan ahead and find affordable ways to pay for an education.”

The legislation would improve the effectiveness of and access to net price calculators (NPCs)—tools that provide students with early, individualized estimates of higher education costs and financial aid figures before they decide where to apply—by requiring schools to put calculators on webpages where students and families are likely to look for cost and admissions information. The Net Price Calculator Improvement Act of 2014 would also authorize the Department of Education to develop a "universal calculator" that allows students to answer a standard set of financial and academic questions and receive cost estimates from schools so they can better compare costs across institutions.

The Net Price Calculator Improvement Act is the second piece of legislation Kaine has co-sponsored this year that will help make college more affordable. Kaine, who benefited from dual enrollment as a student, recently co-sponsored the Supporting College Access and Success Through Dual Enrollment Act to provide states with grants to expand programs that allow high school students to take college-level classes and earn credit that counts toward both high school and college graduation.