The past two years for college students have been filled with numerous unexpected challenges. As the current Student Body President, I believe in the value of pursuing a postsecondary degree and have been honored to serve the student population so that we can create an environment where we want to live and study. But like so many of my classmates, when I was deciding where to attend college, I did not have access to trustworthy information on which schools were going to set me up for success.
Attending college is supposed to put students one step ahead, but more often than not these days, students leave school with low wages and crushing student debt. Having access to data like enrollment numbers, graduation rates, post-grad debt and employment outcomes would give future prospective students a clearer picture of what they can expect post-grad life to look like. As students at the University of South Carolina, we are fortunate enough to have access to more of these numbers than most, but all students should be so lucky.
Fortunately, there is legislation already in Congress designed to increase transparency and accountability in our nation’s higher ed institutions. The College Transparency Act was drafted to ensure that students, like myself, have access to key information before deciding what their higher ed path might be.
While we could not have foreseen many of the challenges the past few years have brought, having access to reliable, outcome-oriented student data will help future students delineate which institution will help set them up for success. We need a system that focuses on the outcomes students see after their degree and one that ensures schools have a stake in student success. I see the bipartisan College Transparency Act as our best bet to make that more of a reality.