Last Wednesday, Congressman Rob Andrews introduced legislation that will help students choose the right college. The legislation would require that a wide range of easy to understand data be readily available when students begin their college search, such as school graduation rates, average student loan debt, and student success in finding work upon graduation.
Currently, prospective students are forced to make the costly and challenging decision over where to attend college with very little or inaccurate information. While the U.S. Department of Education makes some institutional data available through its College Scorecard, the information is, at best, extremely limited. Many states and private web sites also try to put out similar information, but the data typically only examines first-time, full-time students or students who remain within a given state after college. The Student Right to Know Before You Go Act of 2013 would simplify existing college and university reporting requirements to enable students and families to compare the key data necessary for them to make an informed and economical decision including graduation rates for non-traditional students, transfer rates, frequency with which graduates go on to pursue higher levels of education, student debt and post-graduation earnings and employment outcomes.
"College tuition is often one of the largest financial commitments made in a student's lifetime, and like any other significant investment, students should have access to certain basic facts about their education," Congressman Andrews. "Understanding the quality and scope of an area of study, as well as the potential to find gainful employment upon graduation is not only critical when planning one's education, but it can make all the difference in a student's financial future. Having the tools to make informed decisions early will help streamline the education process for countless students, thereby making college more affordable in the long run."
As a member of the Education and the Workforce committee, Congressman Andrews is a strong supporter of providing students and their families the opportunity and tools needed for a more complete picture of the value of their education.