Dec 1, 2017
Establishing the College Dashboard through the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act
On December 1, 2017, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce introduced the PROSPER Act to reauthorize the Higher Education Act of 1965. The PROSPER Act seeks to empower students and families to make informed decisions by improving available information through the creation of the College Dashboard website.
This memo details the College Dashboard’s proposed measures and metrics, and compares them with previous versions of the Dashboard introduced in the Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act and two existing federal consumer information tools: College Navigator and the College Scorecard. The PROSPER Act would eliminate College Navigator upon launch of the College Dashboard website, but does not directly address the future of the College Scorecard.
The College Dashboard website would include the following information for each Title IV-participating college and university:
- A link to the institution’s website
- The institution’s sector and level
- The number of students enrolled, disaggregated by undergraduate/graduate status
- The student-faculty ratio
- 100%, 150%, and 200% graduation rates for all degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates
- The average net price by income level and dependency status for all federal title IV aid recipients
- A link to the net price calculator for the institution
- The percentage of undergraduate degree/certificate completers who borrowed federal student loans for each program of study
- The average federal student loan debt incurred by undergraduate degree/certificate completers for each program of study
- The median earnings of undergraduate degree/certificate completers who received federal financial aid five and ten years after graduation for each program of study
- A link to the institution’s webpage that contains campus safety data
While the PROSPER Act underscores the important role that data play in helping students and their families make informed decisions about college, it falls short of providing education stakeholders with data that reflect the experiences of all students. The inclusion of additional program-level outcome metrics is a step in the right direction, however the College Dashboard website largely replicates current transparency tools without filling current gaps in higher education data systems.
Implementing a well-designed and secure student-level data network (SLDN) would provide more robust and useful information on college access, cost, and outcomes. Broad support for the College Transparency Act—a bipartisan solution that overturns the current federal ban on a student-level data system that was introduced in both the House and Senate in May 2017—reinforces that a SLDN is the most transparent, efficient, and complete way to give education stakeholders the information they need. The PROSPER Act instead leaves the student unit record ban intact, preventing the creation of a SLDN and limiting the availability and quality of enrollment, affordability, and outcomes data for all students.
to read the full memo.