Under the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, the college cost lists are updated annually using data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Additional updated data on individual schools is available on the Department's College Navigator.
Consumer tools such as the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet and the College Scorecard help students and families make more educated decisions about college and easily compare vital information such as college costs, average student loan debt and graduation rates across different institutions.
College Affordability and Transparency Center
The College Affordability and Transparency Center (CATC) on the U.S. Department of Education's College Navigator website helps students make informed decisions about their choice for higher education. As part of this Center, the Department posts College Affordability and Transparency Lists that highlight institutions with the highest tuition prices, highest net prices, and institutions whose prices are rising at the fastest rates.
Included on the site are 'highest increase' lists applicable to all postsecondary institutions that participate in, or are applicants for participation in, any federal financial assistance programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. Specifically, this includes:
- Highest increase in tuition and required fees (Tuition & Fees): A list of the five percent of institutions within each institutional sector that have the largest increase in tuition and required fees, expressed as a percent change, over the three-year time period for which the most recent data are available.
- Highest increase in net price (Net Price): A list of the five percent of institutions within each institutional sector that have the largest increase in average net price, expressed as a percent change, over the three-year time period for which the most recent data are available.
College Affordability and Transparency Explanation Form
Since 2011-12, the collection of information through the College Affordability and Transparency Explanation Form (CATEF) has been necessary pursuant to §132 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, (HEA), 20 U.S.C. §1015a, with the goal of increasing transparency of college tuition prices for consumers.
Institutions on either of the highest increase lists above must use the online College Affordability and Transparency Explanation Form (CATEF) located at https://surveys.ope.ed.gov/catef/ to explain why costs have increased and what steps were or will be taken toward the goal of reducing these costs. The Department will summarize these reports and make them publicly available to parents and students on the CATC Web site.
The CATEF Help Desk is available toll-free at (888) 288-6131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.