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Forcing NJ Universities to Come Clean on All their Hidden Fees | NJ Spotlight

The cost of tuition at colleges and universities in the state is one thing. But many students are blindsided by extra ‘hidden’ fees and legislators are pushing for transparency

College costs can be formidable, and families often get sticker shock when they realize they haven’t accounted for the many fees a school can apply. With technology, labs, books, parking, health insurance and other fees, the price of extras can reach as high as an additional $3,000.

In order to ensure that all costs of a New Jersey college education are clear from the outset, state legislators have submitted a bill (A-3625/S-2046) that would require institutions of higher education to break down their costs, including those hidden mandatory fees that get tacked on when tuition payments are due. A hearing on the bill is scheduled in Trenton for today.

“Too many of our graduates are suffering from sticker shock,” said state Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer), who introduced a version of the bill back in 2016 and whose updated version passed the Senate unanimously. “Too often colleges do the bait and switch. They talk about what the tuition is, and students and families base their budgets on that — and, lo and behold, they are hit with a huge number of fees. If schools are going to charge fees, they should be upfront about it.”

The bill would require schools to develop a standard policy for documenting mandatory student fees for things like technology, gym and fitness, health insurance, campus facilities, and so on. Schools would have to establish separate funds in their budgets for each individual mandatory student fee and make information about those fees easily accessible to every student applying via a financial aid “shopping sheet.” The sheet would provide prospective students and their families with a breakdown of costs, loan options, and estimated debt that the student would incur if they chose a particular university.

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Forcing NJ Universities to Come Clean on All their Hidden Fees – NJ Spotlight.