The Honorable Orrin Hatch
United States Senate
104 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Hatch:
On behalf of the CEO members of Business Roundtable, whose companies employ nearly 15 million Americans, I write to express our strong support for the College Transparency Act. This legislation is entirely consistent with one of our long-standing guiding principles for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which is to drive quality and decision-making through better data.
This bill addresses a challenge you understand all too well. The federal government spends nearly $150 billion annually to support students pursuing a postsecondary education. Despite this investment, we know very little about the actual educational outcomes for many of these students. While a massive amount of information is collected from institutions, this data collection effort fails to capture a large percentage of the student population and simply does not reflect the type of useable information students and others invested in the educational system need to make informed decisions.
Your legislation would take critical steps toward ensuring that the data which are collected better reflect the outcomes of all students in institutions participating in federal student assistance programs. In addition, the bill would enable a comprehensive understanding of the extent to which institutions are successfully serving all students – particularly those in targeted populations and those receiving Pell Grants. The bill would also help students and prospective students gauge the post-collegiate outcomes of former students in critical areas, such as earnings, employment status and further education, broken down by program and credential level.
The combined impact of these and other provisions in your legislation would greatly enhance the transparency and quality of our nation’s system of higher education. Not only would this bill help students, it would also help policymakers better direct limited federal resources and enable employers to make more informed decisions in areas such as recruitment activities.
We also support your bill’s provision to repeal the long-standing prohibition on creating a federal student data system under the Higher Education Act. While we understand and appreciate the concerns that have been raised regarding the establishment of such a system, we believe that this legislation takes the necessary steps to ensure the privacy and security of any data collected as well as to carefully limit the ways in which the data may be used.
Again, thank you for introducing this legislation. We look forward to working with you and other members of Congress to ensure this important legislation becomes law.
Chair, Education and Workforce Committee
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President
Northrop Grumman Corporation