When excited students tear into college acceptance packets next spring, many will find something new inside: information that tries to make it easier to understand the costs.

The federal government and more than 300 colleges and universities want to make sure students “know before they owe” what could be bills for thousands of dollars awaiting them down the road.

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That’s what Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said this summer when his office introduced its college costs “shopping sheet.”

“Students need to know how much their loans are ultimately going to cost, when all the interest and fees and other costs are factored into the equation,” he said.

The push by Cordray’s agency and the Department of Education for clearer college-cost information comes as tuition and student debt have been rising and household income has been falling. With 7,000 schools. read more…