WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), and 12 colleagues reintroduced the College Transparency Act (CTA), which ensures that students and families have better information as they consider higher education opportunities. The CTA modernizes 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 will 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.
“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.”
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.
The senators are also joined by U.S. Senators 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), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) in cosponsoring this legislation.
U.S. Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-8) and Joe Wilson (R-SC-2) introduced the companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Click here for a one-page summary.
“The proposed College Transparency Act seeks to give students new tools to explore postsecondary institutions and it creates a repository of data to inform college leaders about opportunities to better support students and improve their college experience,” said William F. Tate IV, President, Louisiana State University.
“The College Transparency Act offers an excellent opportunity for us all to assist students and their families in making sound decisions about what college or university to attend and what academic program to pursue. These are decisions that will have long-term impacts on the financial, professional and social mobility trajectory of students so making such trustworthy data easily accessible is the right thing to do. I want to thank Senator Warren and her colleagues for their leadership on this issue, which is - at its core - a consumer protection initiative,” said Marty Meehan, President, University of Massachusetts System.
“Kansas State University welcomes the passage of the College Transparency Act and appreciates Senator Marshall’s sponsorship of this important legislation. As a land-grant university, K-State strives to be accessible to all Kansans and the data this bill provides to students, families, universities and others will help tell a complete story of student outcomes,” said Richard Linton, President, Kansas State University.
"Efforts to improve transparency for prospective students and families in Rhode Island, and across the country, is critical to ensuring access to higher education and bolstering student success," said Marc B. Parlange, President, University of Rhode Island. "We applaud Senator Whitehouse's leadership and the bipartisan effort to advance pathways to higher education through the College Transparency Act."
“A college education is an investment in a student’s future, and we want our students and their families to feel confident in their investment. The College Transparency Act provides apples-to-apples comparisons on important information such as total cost, financial aid, completion rates and post-collegiate outcomes. Our goal is to create an on-going conversation with students and families to provide clarity as they plan for college. We believe this is key to ensuring students select the university that best meets their needs,” said Barbara Wilson, President, University of Iowa.
“We’re grateful to the bipartisan leaders who are reintroducing this bill, and particularly our own Colorado Senator John Hickenlooper. At CSU, we’ve been working for decades to promote those best practices that get students from enrollment to graduation – and all of that starts with giving people the information they need to make informed choices. The College Transparency Act is simply about giving students and families better information to evaluate how schools are delivering on their promises, and whether the institutions they’re considering match their dreams and individual needs. It’s common-sense legislation that we fully support,” said Tony Frank, Chancellor, Colorado State University System.