May 11, 2023

Whitehouse, Colleagues Reintroduce Bipartisan College Transparency Act to Improve College Decision-making Process

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has joined colleagues to reintroduce the bipartisan College Transparency Act, which would provide students and families better information to compare higher education opportunities.  The College Transparency Act would modernize 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 protecting the privacy of individual students. 

“Families across Rhode Island deserve resources to make informed decisions about higher education – from graduation rates and course selection to affordability,” said Whitehouse. “Our College Transparency Act will increase the data available to prospective students and parents to make the best possible investment in their future.”

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.

“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 of the 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.”

“The College Transparency Act will enable comprehensive data gathering that empowers students and families to make informed decisions on the institutions and academic programs that are best for them. At the same time, it will ensure that institutions of higher education have the tools they need to best serve students and support their academic and professional journeys,” said Brown University President Christina H. Paxson.

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 College Transparency Act is led by Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and cosponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), 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).

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.

A one pager on the College Transparency Act is here

The full bill text is available here

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921

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