H.R. 4984, the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act, promotes financial literacy among prospective college students and their parents as they navigate federal financial aid.
"College has become a daunting prospect for prospective students who aren't guaranteed a well-paying job after graduation. Financial uncertainty has forced many students and their parents to make tough choices about finances and loans," Rep. Hultgren said. "During this process, students and parents should have all of the resources and information necessary available to make an informed and responsible decision. H.R. 4984 helps education consumers who are navigating a confusing maze of state and federal loan and grant programs, as well as private and institutional assistance. Students and parents should know the impact of their financial decisions on their future."
* Ensures borrowers, both students and parents, who participate in the federal loan program receive interactive counseling each year that reflects their individual borrowing situation.
* Provides awareness about the financial obligations students and parents are accumulating by requiring borrowers to consent each year before receiving federal student loans.
* Informs low-income students about the terms and conditions of the Pell Grant program through annual counseling that will be provided to all grant recipients.
* Directs the Secretary of Education to maintain and disseminate a consumer-tested, online counseling tool institutions can use to provide annual loan counseling, exit counseling, and annual Pell Grant counseling.
This week, the House also passed H.R. 4983, the Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act, which amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to streamline information about institutions of higher education provided by the federal government that are used by students and families. It also improves the existing price calculators and requires them to show the net price calculated, average annual cost of room and board, average annual cost of books and supplies, and estimated total need-based aid that may be available.
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