Public Affairs

Cal State Welcomes White House's Financial Aid Transparency Effort

June 7, 2012

National model shares many aspects of current CSU portrait and public good pages

Early this week, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and other national figures announced progress on a national model called the "Financial Aid Shopping Sheet."  The model is intended as a tool for students looking to make informed decisions based on total costs and available aid.  The model reflects input from higher education institutions and leaders, including the California State University. 

The CSU chancellor, presidents, students and university community have been a continual presence in Washington, D.C., seeking to keep pressure on lawmakers to maintain the commitment to aid programs like Pell, as well as confront the disparities in information provided students applying to multiple universities.

The CSU is already a national leader in providing college costs and value data.  For example, the CSU was instrumental to creating the College Portrait of Undergraduate Education, a voluntary effort by public 4-year institutions of higher education to provide greater accountability through accessible, transparent, and comparable information.

The CSU actually went a step further by creating its unique Contributions to the Public Good page, which includes information on student loan indebtedness and default rates as well as average salaries for CSU degree recipients.

As a university designed to serve all communities in California, the CSU strives to keep student costs and debt levels in check – a task made difficult due to drastic cuts in state support.  Despite these challenges, just 42% of CSU undergraduate degree recipients who started as freshmen assumed loans in 2009-10, compared to 48% statewide and 56% nationally.  The average loan debt of these graduates was $15,804, well below the national public university average of $21,740.

The CSU takes pride in the fact that the net price to attend the university remains well under the national average.  The CSU wholeheartedly supports efforts to bring consistency in reporting across all higher education institutions to help students and families make informed financial decisions.