LSU President, Sen. Bill Cassidy: ‘As college costs rocket up, unlock the data that will enable smart choices’  

In a special essay to CNN published today, LSU President F. King Alexander and Sen. Bill Cassidy advocate for the College Transparency Act, a piece of legislation that will lift a ban on the U.S. Department of Education’s ability to collect certain data on students. 

The act will give people looking at going to college—and weighing the cost of obtaining a degree as well as the time it will take to repay the debt—more information to make their decisions, Cassidy and Alexander write.

The same level of data available for people purchasing cars, homes or airplane tickets should be available for college degrees, especially considering the cost, they write.  

“For many prospective college students, it is nearly impossible to determine whether the cost of college is actually worth it,” Alexander and Cassidy write.
“They know they are committed to completing their studies, but they aren’t sure if what they’re buying will yield the results they’re seeking.”

Current federal law prevents student-level information, also called student-unit records, such as degree completion rates and graduate earnings, from being made public but the College Transparency Act would overturn that policy.

It would also create a network managed by the National Center for Education Statistics, which has an extensive record of protecting student data, and would include college costs, enrollment, retention, completion, and employment across all majors.  

The legislation is picking up momentum in the Senate, with seven Republican and seven Democrat co-sponsors, they write. The Association of Public & Land Grant Institutions (APLU), which represents more than 230 universities across the nation including LSU, has also advocated for the new policy.

Read the full essay.

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