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Lawmakers introduce “Higher Education Consumer Guide Act”

Arkansas state flag outside the state Capitol.
Arkansas state flag outside the state Capitol.(KAIT)
Updated: Feb. 25, 2021 at 8:20 PM CST
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - 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.

The guide would also be published on the board’s website and each college and university website.

The bill was assigned Thursday to the Senate Education Committee.

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