Would you like to know how much it would cost, which loans are available, and how much debt you could rack up before you decide which New Jersey college or university to attend? You would get that information under legislation being considered in Trenton.

Rutgers campus, College Avenue (Townsquare Media)

"The idea is to provide students and their families with a perspective in terms of what the financial cost is, what it means also in the out years, what they can potentially expect," said bill sponsor, Assemblyman Joe Cryan (D-Union). "The idea of the bill is that you understand that if you're a student who potentially is on the fence, what's it going to cost you?"

The legislation would require four-year public and independent colleges and universities to provide a financial aid "shopping sheet" to each prospective student, as part of the school's financial aid offer to that student. The bill directs the Secretary of Higher Education to come up with a model format for the shopping sheet.

"We want to make sure that students have all the information they need to make the decision that's important to them and their families, because it does have long-term implications," Cryan said. "The idea is to provide a one-page synopsis, one or two pages with relevant information in terms of what a future would be."

On the federal level, President Barack Obama has proposed using financial aid shopping sheets to help students better understand and evaluate college costs and financial aid packages. Members of the president's administration are working to develop a model format. Under Cryan's bill, the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education is asked to consider any sample for a financial aid shopping sheet developed by these federal agencies.