Hanna Sponsors Bill to Provide Transparency in Cost of Higher Education

STEM Education Caucus Co-Chair Backing Legislation to Address College Affordability

(Aug. 22, 2013) U.S. Representative Richard Hanna, who will join President Barack Obama in Binghamton on Friday, is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation which would require private and public universities and colleges to provide a four-year price model for students and parents to increase transparency on the costs of higher education so that families can make more informed decisions. Hanna for web

The “Truth in Tuition Act” (H.R. 2020) would specify that every college provide each student admitted to an undergraduate or graduate program with a multi-year tuition and fee schedule, or a single-year tuition and fee schedule with a multi-year estimate of net costs.  The bill has 52 bipartisan cosponsors to date.

In recent years, the cost of college tuition has sky-rocketed, with an average increase of 42 percent for undergraduate tuition, room, and board at public institutions between 2000 and 2011, and 31 percent at private institutions, according to the U.S. Department of Education.  Rep. Hanna believes that we need to do more to ensure that every individual has an opportunity to achieve an affordable higher education, especially for in-demand fields with high pay and low unemployment rates, such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) industries.

“As Co-Chair of the STEM Education Caucus, I understand that the key to rebuilding our middle class is preparing our students with the advanced skills needed for 21st century, value-added jobs,” Rep. Hanna said. “High-tech firms engaging in STEM fields hold the most promise to jump start growth and forge a lasting, competitive rebound.  Jobs in STEM fields pay significantly more in wages than non-STEM jobs, benefitting both the worker and the economy overall.  If we are going to rebuild our middle class we need to be globally competitive – which means we need to focus on education that supports innovation and the creation of value-added products that the world wants.”

Binghamton University, the site of President Obama’s visit to the Southern Tier, is a national leader in maintaining affordability as well as providing innovative, high-tech opportunities for its students.  Binghamton ranks below the national average for cost of tuition and maintains low student loan default rates of only three percent on the White House’s College Scorecard.  Rep. Hanna believes that we need to encourage more colleges to take a similar cost-conscience role in our national education system, allowing students to engage in fields that will equip them with 21stcentury skills.

“Binghamton University is a great example of a high quality education at an affordable price.  I’m pleased that President Obama chose to visit our community,” Rep. Hanna said. “It is always a privilege to welcome the President of the United States to upstate New York, and I look forward to a positive, productive event.  I will work with Democrats and Republicans alike to pursue policies that improve our business climate in New York State, so that students educated Upstate can find work and build their lives here upon graduation.”

On August 5, 2013, Rep. Hanna chaired a Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce field hearing at Binghamton University.  The hearing examined the jobs impact that large universities have on surrounding communities, emphasizing the role research and development plays in creating and growing small businesses.

In his capacity as Co-Chair of the STEM Education Caucus, Rep. Hanna previously introduced the STEM Education Opportunity Act (H.R. 1353).  The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) and would provide tax incentives on a permanent basis for students pursuing STEM in postsecondary education at the associate’s degree level or higher.


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