Student Data Bill Could Repeal Ban on College Outcomes Data Collection

COLLEGE TRANSPARENCY ACT: If there is still one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on, it might be student data. This week, Sens. Orin Hatch (R-Utah), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) introduced a bill aimed at repealing a federal ban on student-level data collection, specifically around tracking college education and employment outcomes. On Tuesday, two House lawmakers, Reps. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), introduced a companion bill, the College Transparency Act of 2017.

The House version is similar to the legislation proposed by the Senate. Advocates of the bill say it would create a student data system for students considering their higher education options “and help point them towards schools best suited to their unique needs and desired outcomes,” according to a press statement.

“Students should be empowered to make the decision that’s best for them, and that starts with having accurate, credible, and accessible information at hand,” Polis said in a prepared statement. “We wouldn’t expect someone to buy a home without researching their investment first, and higher education should be no different. Students should be able to know which institution will serve them best… The College Transparency Act is an important step in that direction.”

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