by Sarah Roderick-Fitch
Virginia U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine has joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in introducing the College Transparency Act, which would give students and their families access to make more informed decisions about colleges and areas of study to best fit their needs.
Kaine and his colleagues hope the legislation will help students and their families make better, more transparent decisions looking at the larger picture when determining the best path in higher education, ultimately leading to successful careers.
“Whether and where someone chooses to go to college is a big decision, and it’s important that students and their families have access to accurate information about student outcomes, so they can make the best decision for them,” said Kaine.
Kaine and his co-sponsors argue without this crucial piece of legislation, students and families “are not empowered to make well-informed choices” regarding their education. They contend policymakers and institutions cannot develop policies based on evidence-driven data to ensure students have the necessary resources to succeed. It also inhibits potential employers from accessing a “talent pipeline” to help their businesses excel. The legislation would reform the higher education data reporting system, providing “stakeholders accurate and timely data on student access and success,” according to a summary of the CTA legislation.
“Students already face tremendous pressure when deciding where they want to attend college,” said the bill’s co-sponsor, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-LA. “The College Transparency Act allows students and their families to know all the facts before choosing the best school for them.”
The legislation would ensure accurate reporting on student outcomes, which would include enrollment data, completion and successes post-college. Additionally, it would provide a “user-friendly” website accessible to parents, students, policymakers and employers. Institutions and federal agencies would use the data collected to calculate student successes and best practices and where improvement is needed.
“[CTA] promotes state and institutional improvement of the higher education system through robust transparency…streamlines burdensome federal reporting requirements for postsecondary institutions to promote more time spent on students,” according to the summary of the legislation.
“I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan bill to update the current college reporting system and help ensure students, their families, and employers have access to this critical, up-to-date information,” Kaine said.
In addition to Sens. Kaine and Cassidy, several other senators, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, co-sponsored the bill. The U.S. House of Representatives has also introduced companion legislation. The legislation has been introduced in the past and received bipartisan support but has ultimately failed. The legislation has received support from nearly 200 organizations.
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Sarah Roderick-Fitch is The Center Square’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Editor. She has previously worked as an editor, and has been a contributing writer for several publications. In addition to writing and editing, Sarah spent nearly a decade working for non-profit, public policy organizations in the Washington, DC area.