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Friday, September 21, 2018

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Proposed bill asks universities to tell all


If passed, the Student Right to Know Act would require all colleges to report the average salaries of postgraduates, remedial enrollment, credit earnings and graduation rates, as well as the average debt accumulated while attending the college.

The bill was introduced by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden in Washington D.C. in the beginning of February.

The purpose of the act, as outlined by Wyden, would allow prospective college students to make a more informed decision about their education and future career.

“Students have a right to know how long it will take them to complete their education, what their likelihood of completion is, how far that education will take them after graduation and at what cost,” Wyden said in his outline of the bill. “They deserve to know this information before they invest thousands of dollars and years of their lives.”

Though the Student Right to Know Act was proposed last year and is still undergoing approval processing, UH, as well all Texas institutions of higher education, may be affected in the future.

“We (UH) do not comment on pending litigation. We will, of course, fully comply with applicable law,” said Shawn Lindsey, director of media relations for Marketing and Communication. “It sounds as though Texas is already working to make the type of information proposed in the bill available this spring.”

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has been working to address the points mentioned in the Student Right to Know Act.

In 2012, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board researched the amount of time it takes an average student to complete a 4-year degree.

According to the 2012 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Almanac, 120 credit hours are required to earn a 4-year degree. The average student takes between five to six years to graduate from a 4-year institution.

With this bill, potential college students will be able to view which institutions have an average 4-year graduation rate.

“Texas is a national leader for using data to drive policy. Texas was one of the first, and remains one of the few, to have a robust accountability system that measures the progress on higher education metrics critical for stakeholders to track and understand,” said the 2012 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Almanac.

“The 2013 Almanac will include average yearly salaries by degree area for 2006 baccalaureate graduates at one, three and five years after degree completion. In addition, the average undergraduate debt by area at the time of graduation will be shown for those students who obtained state and federal loans.”

Raymund Paredes, director of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, gave his plans for future college students in a December 2012 testimony.

“We will continue to publish the Almanac each year to place the most relevant state and institutional data in the hands of higher education officials, business leaders and policymakers so they understand how Texas higher education is performing,” Paredes said.

“We will begin to expand access to data for parents and students. This will help parents and students to begin to evaluate data like time-to-degree and graduation rates in addition to just tuition and fees, financial aid and available majors when making decisions about which college is the right fit.”

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