Rep. Christine Chandler
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
A new law requiring private colleges and universities to disclose the total costs to prospective students went into effect Friday, Jan. 1. The Disclosure Requirements for Private Colleges Act was sponsored by Rep. Christine Chandler and was signed by the governor March 6, 2019.
Chandler told the Los Alamos Reporter Monday that she is proud to have sponsored the bill.
“It is one of my first term accomplishments that provides greater transparency and access for students considering private post-secondary training,” she said. “By requiring the disclosure of the information listed in the bill, students will be able to evaluate whether a school is offering value for the cost of attending.”
The bill requires that private post-secondary institutions disclose to every prospective student prior to enrollment the total estimated cost of attendance, including equipment, materials, supplies, transportation and personal expenses such as computers and room and board costs. Prospective students must also be notified of the number of semesters and credit hours of the program they are considering, the average combined loan debt, the placement rate for graduates, and whether or not the program satisfied the education requirements for state professional licensure of certification. Students must also be informed of the average earnings they can expect 10 years after entering the learning institution.
Public colleges and universities in New Mexico were already required under New Mexico law to provide this information however sine 10,000 students attended private institutions in 2019 alone.
In a press release, Acting Higher Education Department Sec. Stephanie Rodriguez said it is the Department’s responsibility to ensure that students have all the information they need at their fingertips to make informed decisions about their education and future.
“Our priority is to ensure that all colleges and universities in New Mexico maintain high-quality programs that are adequate and effective to meet the needs of our students and our state,” she said.
The HED Private Postsecondary Division works with some 93 private colleges, universities and vocational schools authorized by the state and oversees an oversight committee for those institutions.