U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) joined his colleagues, led by Sens. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), in reintroducing the College Transparency Act (CTA), legislation which ensures that students and families have better information as they consider higher education opportunities. The CTA would modernize the college reporting system for postsecondary data by providing accurate reporting on student outcomes such as enrollment, completion, and post-college earnings across colleges and majors, while ensuring the privacy of individual students is securely protected.
This information would give students a clear understanding of the return on investment in higher education and help them to make better decisions as to which schools and programs of study are best suited to their unique needs and desired outcomes. It will also promote better outcomes by aiding institutions of learning and policymakers in their work to improve our country’s post-secondary education system, and assist businesses and other employers in finding potential employees best suited for a particular field.
“With the rising costs of tuition, it is important for students and their families to have the most information available to them when deciding where to attend college and how much debt to assume,” said Senator Romney. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in reintroducing this bipartisan measure that, in addition to providing relevant information about student loan borrowing, will ensure that students are well-equipped with information to make the best decision regarding their future.”
“College costs and student debt continue to soar. Students should have all the facts at their disposal and understand the value of their investment and likely outcomes,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The College Transparency Act gives students and parents a tool to make better decisions about where to attend college.”
“Students and their families need a clear understanding of how colleges support their students – including data on their enrollment, transfer, and graduation rates – so they can make informed decisions when choosing a college,” said Senator Warren. “The College Transparency Act would close the information gap so that students and families finally have the tools they need to choose the best school for them.”
“I am an enthusiastic proponent of having access to as much data as possible to make informed decisions,” said Taylor Randall, University of Utah President. “The College Transparency Act provides improved access and quality data for students and families, policymakers and employers to help make decisions respectively about choosing a college program, improving student success and hiring graduates, all while keeping individual student data private and secure.”
“We strongly support the College Transparency Act, which would generate the information that students and families need to make optimal decisions about the postsecondary institution and program that is right for them,” said Deneece G. Huftalin, Ph.D., President, Salt Lake Community College. “The law would enable students to know the likelihood of transferring to other colleges after completing their SLCC programs, as well as what they might expect to earn in the job market. This legislation represents a long-overdue and necessary improvement in public information about the performance of our nation’s colleges. We applaud and thank Senator Romney and the other bill cosponsors for their efforts to make higher education opportunities and outcomes more transparent for students.”
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. 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.
Joining Romney, Cassidy, and Warren in cosponsoring this legislation are Senators Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Cornyn (R-TX), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), and Chris Murphy (D-CT).