Will the College Transparency Act Help Determine the ROI of a College Degree? Part I

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way to provide individuals and their families information on the return they can expect on their investment in higher education? Families need a kind of Consumer Reports for Higher Education. I recently attended a panel session, sponsored by the Institute of Higher Education Policy (IHEP), to learn more. The panelists were each engaging, articulate and informed. Each of them spoke persuasively about the positive impact the College Transparency Act (CTA) would have on their constituents.

What is the College Transparency Act?

The College Transparency Act overturns today’s ban on student-level data collection in the Higher Education Act. CTA creates a secure, privacy-protected student-level data network within the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) using strong security standards and data governance protocols. This bill would ensure accurate reports on student outcomes including enrollment, completion and post-college success including job and salary, across colleges and programs. It would provide more granular information on students by race, ethnicity, Pell Grant receipt status and more - all designed to identify inequities in students’ success.

More than 100 institutions, higher education associations, educational non-profits, chambers of commerce and employers have come forward to support this bill. I went into the panel discussion positively inclined to support the CTA, but I came away from the session with more questions than answers.

I’ll explore the questions in my next blog post.

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