Mitchell, Krishnamoorthi, Stefanik, Harder Introduce Bipartisan College Transparency Act
WASHINGTON – Today, Reps. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and Josh Harder (D-CA) introduced the bipartisan College Transparency Act to enable students and families to make more informed choices about education after high school.
The College Transparency Act will provide actionable and customizable information for students and families as they consider higher education opportunities by enabling access to student outcomes such as enrollment, completion, and post-college success across colleges and majors, while ensuring the privacy of individual students is securely protected. Most importantly, this information will inform prospective students about how others have succeeded at a particular institution, and help point them towards schools and majors best suited to their unique needs and desired outcomes.
The current college reporting system is overly burdensome on institutions, yet provides little practical information for students and families due to significant gaps in college data reporting. Further, when students make misinformed decisions about where to pursue an education, the student loan crisis is exacerbated and the strength of the American workforce suffers.
Under the updated system, institutions would securely report privacy-protected, student-level data to the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The Commissioner would then coordinate with other federal agencies to produce secure, temporary data matches that will provide valuable information on student earnings and outcomes. The summary of information would be presented on a user-friendly website for students and families.
Reps. Mitchell, Krishnamoorthi, Stefanik, and Harder released the following statements upon introduction:
“I spent my career in higher education, so I understand many of the challenges facing institutions, students, and parents,” said Rep. Mitchell. “It has long been a priority of mine to ensure students and families have the necessary tools to make informed decisions about their future. Since coming to Congress, I began working on legislation to increase transparency to enable students to make decisions that will put them on the path to success. This bill will streamline and update current data practices to arm students with information to make the best choices, while reducing bureaucratic burdens on universities.”
“Getting a college education is a pillar of the American Dream for millions of families across our country,” said Rep. Krishnamoorthi. “It is essential that we both inform families and ensure that they have access to information to make the best financial and educational decisions for their children, so students are put on a path to success, and the American dream can continue to be accessible for all.”
“As the first member of my family to attend college, I understand the difficulties that can arise when deciding which institution will be the best fit. Figuring out where to attend college is already stressful for high school students and their families, and the current outdated college data reporting system only adds to that stress. The College Transparency Act will streamline the process so that students and families have access to the most useful, up to date, and secure data in order to make the most informed college decision possible,” said Rep. Stefanik.
“Sending a child to college is one of the most important, and expensive, decisions our families can make. It’s also one of the least transparent processes with no way to compare success rates or even see what you are getting for your money. This bill ensures that our families have access to the information they need to help them make more informed decisions for their kids’, and their families futures,” said Rep. Harder.
“The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) thanks Senators Cassidy, Warren, Scott, and Whitehouse and Representatives Mitchell, Krishnamoorthi, Stefanik, and Harder for the reintroduction of the College Transparency Act,” said Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, which has long been focused on improving higher education data. “The legislation would empower students as consumers through better data on how well students at colleges and universities fare. It would also provide schools with the information they need to better assess their programs and take steps to further improve the success of their students. The reauthorization of Higher Education Act presents the perfect opportunity to incorporate the CTA to fill the major holes in higher education data that have been allowed to exist for far too long.”
Currently, students are unable to access accurate and comprehensive information about graduate rates and employment possibilities by major or credential level, inhibiting them from making informed decisions about their post-secondary education path.
The College Transparency Act would address the current shortcomings of higher education information by:
- Ensuring students and families have access to accurate and complete information on student outcomes, such as completion and employment outcomes across colleges and majors;
- Providing actionable and customizable information to students and families so they, rather than government agencies, can make responsible choices about higher education; and
- Streamlining reporting burdens on institutes of higher education by prioritizing information most helpful to students and families as well as institutional improvement.
Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced identical companion legislation in the US senate.