BIPARTISAN EDUCATION BILL INTRODUCED TO PROVIDE INCREASED INFORMATION ON COLLEGE COSTS

Nov 29, 2017 Issues: Education

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), André Carson (D-IN), and Scott Peters (D-CA) introduced the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act of 2017, a bipartisan bill providing greater transparency in the cost of higher education.  U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate at the same time.

“One of the biggest decisions in a young person’s life is deciding where to go to college,” said Representative Hunter.  “While this is an exciting time, it can also be stressful.  Unfortunately, the cost of higher education has increased exponentially in recent years, with little sign of slowing down.  It is critical that students and their parents are provided with as much information as possible allowing them to make the best decisions for their family.  Students should be able to easily access information from universities regarding earnings data for graduates, graduation rates for nontraditional students, transfer rates, frequency with which graduates go on to pursue higher levels of education, and debt levels.  This bill provides these important informational tools.”

The Student Right to Know Before You Go Act of 2017 establishes new metrics to be published by the Department of Education to focus on data that provides future students and their families with information post-graduation average annual earnings, rate/amount of federal loan debt, rates of remedial enrollment, credit accumulation, and graduation rates among other data sets.  Specifically, the legislation will:

•Empower students and families with the tools needed for a more complete picture of the value of their education;

•Make accurate, easy to understand data available online for prospective students and their families;

•Authorize the release of information that currently exists, but not currently accessible;

•Match student records with employment and earnings data;

•Ensure results will be highly accurate and informative.

A critical provision of the legislation is the requirement for the use of secure multi-party computation (MPC), an advanced encryption technique, to generate statistical data based on student information from colleges and universities as well as loan and income information from government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Education.  The process ensures the protection of the underlying data, so no entity is forced to “give up” sensitive information in a form that is accessible to others.

A one-page summary and a chart of the bill’s key provisions can be found by clicking here, alongside a section-by-section outline.