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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jan 18, 2022.
Understanding the True Cost of College Act of 2021
This bill requires standardized financial aid terminology and offer forms.
Specifically, the Department of Education (ED) must develop standard terminology and a format for financial aid offer forms based on recommendations from representatives of certain groups, including students, veterans, and institutions of higher education (IHEs).
The consumer-friendly form must include specified details and disclosures, including the estimated cost of attendance, the net price that a student or family is estimated to pay, and the terms and conditions of financial aid.
In addition, ED must (1) test the form with representatives of students, students' families, IHEs, secondary school and postsecondary counselors, and nonprofit consumer groups; and (2) use the results to develop the final form.
Each IHE that participates in federal student-aid programs must (1) use the standard form when offering financial aid to students, and (2) use the standard terminology and definitions developed by ED for all communications related to financial aid offers.