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Lawmakers introduce “Higher Education Consumer Guide Act”



Arkansas – A bill was filed Thursday in the Arkansas legislature, seeking to answer a question that many parents and prospective college students ask almost on a daily basis: how much will it cost to go to college?

The bill, SB397, sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View) and Rep. Nelda Speaks (R-Mountain Home), has several other area lawmakers as co-sponsors.

They include Reps. Frances Cavenaugh (R-Walnut Ridge), Deborah Ferguson (D-West Memphis) and Michelle Gray (R-Melbourne).

Lawmakers said in the bill they are attempting to provide information at a key time for parents and students alike.

“The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board shall create a Higher Education Consumer Guide that is designed for use by prospective students and parents and legal guardians of prospective students at a state-supported institution of higher education,” the bill noted.

The bill covers all state-supported two-year and four-year colleges and universities in the state.

Under the bill, the following questions would be among the questions to be answered in the guide:

  • Retention and graduation rates
  • Cost of tuition
  • The average amount borrowed and loan default rate
  • Percentage of students who applied for first-time undergraduate admission and were offered admission to each state-supported institution of higher education
  • Average test scores of students admitted to each state-supported institution of higher education.
  • Job placement of students within the first three years of graduation
  • Income of college alumni over the first 20 years after completion of their credential.
  • Percentage of students admitted to each state-supported institution of higher education from the top 10 percent of a public high school class in the state
  • Average number of semesters for completion of an associate’s or bachelor’s degree at the institution.