WASHINGTON, May 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- In step with its recently released policy recommendations with regard to reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, AccessLex Institute announces a position of strong support for the College Transparency Act. This bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in the Senate and Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) and Jared Polis (D-CO) in the House, would overturn the existing student-level data ban and expand access to critical higher education data for all relevant stakeholders, including prospective students, institutions and the public.
In 2008, Congress banned the creation of a student-level data system. Subsequently, universities report data at only an institutional level, which fails to adequately capture and evaluate outcomes for students in any targeted way. Additionally, current policy mandates that the data collected exclude students who do not receive federal aid, as well as transfers and others who are not first-time, full-time enrollees. This results in fragmented data for large subsections of students, including graduate and professional students.
"Comprehensive higher education data is sorely lacking for stakeholders who need this information to make crucial decisions," said Christopher P. Chapman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AccessLex Institute. "Most directly, students should be armed with as many resources as possible to make well-informed choices about their futures. By disaggregating data by credential and academic program, prospective law students, for example, would have a better sense of which law school best fits their needs."
AccessLex Institute recognizes the concerns related to privacy and security that accompany any data sharing initiative but notes that the bill includes several measures to protect students against privacy violations. The bill includes a ban on the sale of student data, prohibits access by law enforcement and limits personally identifiable information. It also bars a federal college ranking or ratings system.
"The creation of a student-level data system is just one of several recommendations by AccessLex Institute for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act," added Mr. Chapman. "But it is an extremely important one. Data-driven decision-making is critical across higher education, and we are pleased to see bipartisan support in Congress of this priority."
About AccessLex Institute:
AccessLex Institute is a nonprofit organization committed to helping talented, purpose-driven students find their path from aspiring lawyer to fulfilled professional. In partnership with its nearly 200 ABA-approved Member law schools, improving access and positively influencing legal education have been at the heart of the Company's mission since 1983. The AccessLex Center for Legal Education ExcellenceSM advocates for policies that make legal education work better for students and society alike, and conducts research on the most critical issues facing legal education today. The AccessLex Center for Education and Financial CapabilitySM offers on-campus and online financial education programming and resources to help students confidently manage their finances on their way to achieving personal and professional success. AccessLex Institute has offices in West Chester, PA, and Washington, D.C., with a team of accredited financial education counselors based throughout the United States. Learn more at AccessLex.org.