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ACE Concerned by Wyden-Rubio "Student Right to Know Before You Go Act"

Roughly a year ago, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced Senate Bill 2098, "The Student Right to Know Before You Go Act," which quickly gained Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) as a co-sponsor. I posted an extensive review of the bill at that time, but the introductory paragraph from that post, which I've included at the end of this piece, covers the basics. Essentially, the bill would greatly increase the role of state longitudinal data systems (SLDSs) in higher education data collection and reporting, with the explicit goal of providing to the public employment and income data on recent graduates by not just institution, but by specific majors and programs within institutions.

Although the bill did not draw significant support in the U.S. House of Representatives at the time of its introduction, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor recently cited it as legislation he could support, increasing the potential for action on the bill in the current Congress. This possibility has drawn the attention of the American Council on Education (ACE), which noted in last week's President to President newsletter (http://www.acenet.edu/president-to-president/Pages/president-to-president-gallery.aspx?year=2013, see Volume 14, Number 7) that it has serious concerns about the degree to which the legislation "overreaches and is ultimately unworkable." ACE also indicates that it is currently engaged with congressional staff about those concerns, which from the EDUCAUSE perspective might include the relative costs of adapting institutional data collection and systems to new external reporting systems and requirements. EDUCAUSE will continue to follow this process as it takes shape, and to work with other higher education associations to inform the dialogue as appropriate.

Opening Paragraph, Feb. 12, 2102, Blog Post on the Introduction of the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act in Congress:

Earlier this month, U. S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the “Student Right to Know Before You Go” Act (Senate Bill 2098), which proposes to give students, their families, and the public at large a clearer understanding of what the relative costs and economic benefits are from pursuing particular courses of study at given institutions. The bill would achieve this by requiring colleges and universities to report individual student educational records to “statewide individual-level integrated postsecondary education data systems,” which would most likely be existing statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDSs). That would allow the data to be combined with K-12 and workforce data on individuals to permit public reporting of:

  • “Rates of remedial education, credit accumulation, and postsecondary completion by high school completion status.”
  • “…data on average individual annual earnings, disaggregated by educational program, degree received, educational institution, employment sector, and State.”