Washington, D.C. – Today, Reps. Elise Stefanik, Paul Mitchell (R-MI), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), and Josh Harder (D-CA) announced more than half of the House of Representatives have now cosponsored the College Transparency Act (H.R. 1766). The bipartisan bill will provide students and families with the data they need to make informed choices about post-secondary education.
“When an issue brings Democrats and Republicans across the country and in both chambers of Congress together, it is critical to take action and move forward to do what is right for the American people,” said the Members. “The time is now for Congress to pass the College Transparency Act and get it signed into law to ensure students can access the accurate and comprehensive information they need to make one of the most important decisions of their lifetimes”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted one of many examples of how the lack of quality data hampers policymaking. When implementing the CARES Act, the Department of Education has been forced to distribute federal funding to institutions based on approximations instead of actual data that could have been provided if CTA was law.
The Members added:
“COVID-19 exposed data gaps in higher education, and it is apparent that we can and must do much more to ensure better data is available to both federal agencies and working families. Now more than ever, as more students pursue postsecondary degrees, it is critical students and families have information to determine which institutions and programs provide them with the best return on investment. Further, as we respond to the current health and economic crisis by distributing critical federal funds to students and institutions in need, we need quality data so the federal government can ensure a fair and accurate distribution of funds, promote the wise spending of taxpayer dollars, and comprehensively assess student outcomes.”
The existing college reporting system is incomplete, duplicative, inefficient, and burdensome. Current law prohibits the federal government from collecting and reporting accurate data on student outcomes, which leaves millions of American families in the position of making a huge investment in their children’s future without fully understanding the return on investment.
The College Transparency Act closes significant gaps in college data reporting by establishing a privacy-protected postsecondary data system at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Specifically, this new system will collect and report on student outcomes such as enrollment, completion, and post-college success to help prospective students determine which programs of study match their interests and career aspirations. Unlike under the current data reporting system, this data must be disaggregated by factors including but not limited to: race, ethnicity, and veteran’s status. NCES would be responsible for securely storing student information, working with relevant federal agencies to generate post-college outcomes reports, and presenting the summary information on a user-friendly website for students and families.
There are currently 221 (79 R, 142 D) House cosponsors of the College Transparency Act. The Senate companion – S. 800 – has 34 cosponsors (18 R and 16 D).