WASHINGTON — When it comes to data on a college’s true costs and job placement prospects for graduates, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., believes students and their parents should know before they go, which is why he’s cosponsoring the bipartisan College Transparency Act.
The act modernizes the reporting system for colleges and universities so that students deciding where to attend college have more complete information about the success of current students and recent graduates based on their majors, federal student loan borrowing, and employment outcomes. While the vast majority of postsecondary institutions already collect and report this data to federal agencies and a third-party private organization, the Education Department is prohibited by a 2008 law from sharing it publicly.
“When students and their parents are deciding where — or if — to attend college, they should have all the relevant information necessary to make the best possible decision,” said Toomey. “This bipartisan legislation will better inform families on student outcomes for different schools, degrees, and majors. I urge my colleagues to pass this commonsense measure.”
A bipartisan group of senators support the measure.
The College Transparency Act will share with students how others with similar backgrounds have succeeded at an institution, and help point them towards schools and programs of study best suited to their unique needs and desired outcomes. It will also aid institutions of learning and policymakers in their work to improve our country’s postsecondary education system.
The current college data reporting system provides little practical information for students and families due to significant gaps in the data made publicly available. Under the updated system, institutions would securely report privacy-protected, student-level data to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). 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.