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Senate Bill Would Establish New Higher-Ed Data System by 2020

Amy Laitinen was quoted in Federal Computer Week on collecting and reporting better data on student outcomes:

Amy Laitinen, director of higher education policy at the New America Foundation, said the growing student loan debt crisis makes collecting and reporting better data around college investments a higher profile issue for lawmakers.

"The drumbeat is getting louder as folks are realizing that student debt is a huge issue, and that while college is certainly worth it on average, students aren't going to 'average schools,'" she said. "They're going to particular colleges and paying particular prices and they have a right to know what to expect on the other end."

Laitinen believes the bill's greatest obstacle are the chairs of the House and Senate education committees – Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Va.) – both of whom have come out against similar proposals. Additionally, both committees are preparing to release a long-awaited bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, legislation that will almost certainly touch on the same issues. Still, Laitinen believes the legislation can help influence the politics of the reauthorization debate.

"Realistically, if this change were going to happen it would happen in the context of the reauthorization, but since [Rep.] Foxx is not going to include it anyway, it's smart to include it and say this is what people want," she said. "The omission will be glaringly obvious."