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A Million Students Push for Postsecondary Data Reform

Young Invincibles, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization that works to resolve issues facing young adults, has published a new education agenda that is currently supported by more than a million students. The “Student Agenda for Postsecondary Reform” focuses on improving the quality of federal data that tracks how well students perform at colleges and universities.

Young Invincibles created the agenda with input from workshops, listening sessions and roundtable conversations held over the last two years. Ultimately, the agenda is a call to action to “improve how the United States collects and uses data” in the higher education system, so that students can see salary, job placement, loan repayment and other information that would influence their school or major choices. 

“In short, students, policymakers, and institutions are unable to answer basic questions about colleges and the outcomes they produce,” said Tom Allison, deputy director of policy and research for Young Invincibles, in a statement. “This is a remarkable lack of transparency and accountability for the over $500 billion colleges spend every year, half of which comes from students and families who have taken on in total over $1.3 trillion dollars in debt to finance these tuition dollars.”

The nonprofit proposes that policymakers enact the following reforms:

  • Overturn the Student Unit Record Ban, a section of the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Opportunity Act that prevents the United States Department of Education from collecting and using student-level data;
  • Expand information about college majors and programs, in order to help students to make informed decisions about their futures;
  • Make information on “alternative” education pathways, like bootcamps and competency-based education, more widely available;
  • More inclusive data collection;
  • More data that enhances choices for students, rather than “perpetuating existing inequalities,” according to the agenda;
  • Expand student privacy laws that regulate how the federal government handles student information, such as those proposed by the Privacy Committee of the Federal CIO Council; and
  • More accessible data that should be easy and intuitive to use.

To learn more, visit the Young Invincibles site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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