Thursday, July 6, 2017
On May 15, 2017, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Elizabeth Warren (D- Massachusetts), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee introduced The College Transparency Act (S. 1121). Congressmen Paul Mitchell (R-Michigan) and Jared Polis (D-Colorado) introduced a companion bill (H.R. 2434) in the House of Representatives on May 16.
The legislation, which has the stated goal of streamlining institutional reporting requirements, would repeal the prohibition of a student unit records system and directs that USDE collect and report outcomes information and improve data currently available for stakeholders including students, parents, researchers and policymakers. USDE would be prohibited from selling the information or creating a federal college ratings or rankings system.
Such data elements shall include, at a minimum, the following:
(i) Student-level data elements necessary to calculate the information within the student-related surveys in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), as such surveys are in effect on the day before the date of enactment of the College Transparency Act.
(ii) Student-level data elements necessary to allow for reporting student enrollment, persistence, retention, transfer, and completion measures for all credential levels (including certificate and associate, baccalaureate, and advanced degree levels), within and across postsecondary institutions (including across all categories of institution level and control). The data elements shall allow for reporting
- student enrollment,
- transfer, and
- completion measures for all credential levels (including certificate and associate, baccalaureate, and advanced degree levels), within and across postsecondary institutions (including across all categories of institution level and control).
The data elements shall allow for reporting about all such data disaggregated by the following categories:
(I) Enrollment status as a first-time student.
(II) Attendance intensity, whether full-time or part-time.
(III) Credential-seeking status, by credential level.
The Commissioner shall, at a minimum, seek to ensure that the secure data system linkages described in subparagraph (A) permit consistent reporting of the following categories of data for all students, including students receiving Federal grants and loans and students receiving veteran's education benefits, as defined in section 480(c).
(i) Enrollment, retention, transfer, and completion outcomes for all students.
(ii) Financial indicators for students receiving Federal grants and loans, including grant and loan aid by source, cumulative student debt, loan repayment status, and repayment plan.
(iii) Post-collegiate outcomes for all students, including earnings, employment, and further education, by program of study and credential level and as measured—
(I) immediately after leaving postsecondary education; and
(II) at later time intervals appropriate to the credential sought and earned.
(IV) Race or ethnicity.
“(V) Age intervals.
“(VII) Program of study (as applicable).
“(VIII) Military or veteran status (as determined based on receipt of veteran's education benefits, as defined in section 480(c)).
“(IX) Status as a postsecondary athlete.
“(X) Federal Pell Grant recipient status.
“(C) OTHER DATA ELEMENTS.—The Commissioner may, after consultation with postsecondary institutions (including institutions of higher education) and other stakeholders (including individuals with expertise in data privacy and security, and in consumer protection), make a determination to promulgate regulations to include additional data elements in the postsecondary student data system, which may include first generation status, economic status, remedial coursework, or gateway course completion.