October 26, 2021
United States Representative, Illinois
Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer, and Head of Strategic Advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Information surrounding educational outcomes can be challenging to easily find online. While many colleges and universities clearly publicize graduation and post-grad employment rates, it’s difficult to find more detailed information about the outcome of a student’s college degree.
This lack of clarity not only affects the increasing student loan debt accrued across the country, but also the job market, the housing market, and other key economic areas.
In this week’s Common Grounds event, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley hosted an informative discussion with Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) on how to increase access to information about these educational outcomes.
The Importance of Clear Education Outcomes
Cassidy and Krishnamoorthi make it clear that they’re invested in this issue primarily to help students make educated and informed decisions about their futures.
“We both want the individual American to have the power, to make the best choice for his life or her life,” said Cassidy. “And when it comes to education right now, the educational establishments have almost all the power.”
Cassidy explained that oftentimes, students take grants and loans handed to them without fully understanding the consequences of debt.
“Folks need to understand exactly what the outcomes will be for the education that they are about to embark on—and oftentimes it's an expensive education and expensive proposition — so that they can make an informed choice,” Krishnamoorthi agreed.
Government Policy Plays a Role in Educational Transparency
Bradley noted that it’s sometimes easier to find information about “the quality of a washing machine” than one of life’s biggest decisions — where to go to college and what career to pursue.
“I think the way that we fix this is by removing any impediments that are in the law that prevent educational institutions, including four-year colleges, community colleges, trade schools, and the like, from being able to publish student outcome data by major, by college — the things that you would otherwise need to make a good decision in buying an education,” Krishnamoorthi said.
“All the information is there, already collected by the federal government,” Cassidy explained. “It is just not presented in a coherent fashion to the student. So we have The College Transparency Act that would allow an online search to be made easily to compare schools.”
Publicizing Educational Data Will Have Personal, Societal and Economic Benefits
Increasing educational transparency isn’t just beneficial to students who plan to take out loans for the cost of their degrees.
“I think employers are going to benefit by knowing which schools are producing the best outcomes for certain degrees that they are trying to hire in,” Krishnamoorthi said. “And so I think it really helps the students, it helps the employers and to me, it’s really going to be the great leveling of the playing field in higher education.”
“The College Transparency Act is merely a means by which we can lower the cost of education, making it more likely that someone graduates with a degree which earns them money and they can have a fulfilling life,” Cassidy said.
From the Series