House passes bill to establish comprehensive college data

The House on Wednesday passed a bill by voice vote to streamline public data about institutions of higher education.

The bill, H.R. 4983, would direct the Secretary of Education to create a "College Dashboard" website to display data from colleges' most recent academic year.

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The information would include the number of enrolled students, student-faculty ratio, percentage of undergraduates who received their degree or certificates, average price for students receiving financial aid, the percentage of students who borrowed federal loans and campus safety data.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), said it would help prospective students identify institutions of higher education best suited to their needs. 

"Students and families face a deluge of data that often provides little to no use," Foxx said.

Under current law, the Department of Education only has to publish data gathered based on full-time students. Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) said the bill would ensure the data captured the majority of the current college population and provide students with a better picture of potential schools.

"This information may lead students to consider institutions they may have otherwise excluded," Holt said.

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