WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) spoke on the importance of passing the College Transparency Act (CTA) at a Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Hearing on “Supporting Quality Workforce Development Opportunities and Innovation to Address Barriers to Employment”. Cassidy’s bill ensures students and families have clear and absorbable information as they consider higher education opportunities. The College Transparency Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, February 4, 2022 and awaits passage in the Senate.
When asked by Dr. Cassidy about CTA, the witnesses supported the tenets of his bill and advocated for providing transparency to students when applying to college:
“We believe that the kind of transparency that you are describing is essential to really fixing the issue that we have all talked about today, and that is getting people off the sidelines and back into the workforce; and that presumes getting them back into positions in the workforce that will provide for both economic stability and economic mobility. People can’t make good decisions without good data, and I think what you are talking about is improving the quality of data available to Americans,” said Nicole Sherard-Freeman, senior official for economic development with the City of Detroit.
“We would wholeheartedly agree, senator. First, we think about it as credentials of value, which means a credential has an intended purpose and you can finance it the way you were describing that it isn’t an undue burden once you leave and so that requires the information that’s there. The State of Texas is partnering with the U.S. Chamber Foundation as part of its Job Employment Data Exchange to get the kind of data that would be necessary for that transparency to show someone who completed the degree and what they are making using enhanced unemployment insurance reporting. In addition, we think performance-based approaches strengthen that approach and you can see it done in multiple different ways in terms of here in Texas there is the Texas State Technical College that basically is funded because its workforce outcomes are the basis for the appropriation from the legislature. And finally, the U.S. Chamber Foundation is also working at talent finance to begin to align employment outcomes, employer interest, and education to actually produce those outcomes,” said Peter Beard, Senior Vice President for Regional Workforce Development, Greater Houston Partnership.
The College Transparency Act modernizes 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 ensuring the privacy of individual students is securely protected. The bill is also sponsored by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
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