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Give college applicants more info to compare

A graduation student wearing a personalized cap.

A graduation student wearing a personalized cap. Credit: Veronique Louis

It’s no secret that college tuition is ballooning. So why keep secret the information on which degree and nondegree programs give students the best postgraduate opportunities?

Regulations were supposed to go into effect this month to take away federal financial aid from students at for-profit colleges and in nondegree college programs that showed high debt-to-earnings postgraduate ratios. But the sanctions have been held up by the Trump administration, which plans to rewrite rules for student borrowing. Most students will now remain in the dark about which schools could give them better opportunities, and which will be a waste of money.

A bill being considered in Congress could make sure the U.S. Department of Education provides graduation outcomes applicants need.

The College Transparency Act is bipartisan legislation that would create a student-reporting database with enrollment, graduation and postgraduate outcomes. Applicants would be able to search college outcomes reported by recent graduates.

Some universities report their own outcomes, but the data aren’t comparable from school to school because colleges aren’t required to disclose collection methods. The College Transparency Act would fix this by setting up standards for alumni reporting.

Because the bill requires more data collection, serious security measures should be put in place to protect the information. These concerns should be weighed with students in mind, because students deserve more information before signing their name on the dotted line of debt.