- A nonprofit advocacy organization has called for massive reforms in data security and usage by the U.S. Department of Education and colleges and universities.
- The 'Student Agenda for Postsecondary Reform,' issued by the Young Invincibles, has secured more than one million student signers in support of overturning the federal Student Unit Record Ban, expanding data about postgraduate job outcomes and making institutional data more easily accessible for students, among other demands.
- Organization leaders say colleges should be more forthright in helping students to make wiser choices about degree and career options. “In short, students, policymakers, and institutions are unable to answer basic questions about colleges and the outcomes they produce,” Tom Allison, deputy director of policy and research for Young Invincibles, told Campus Technology.
Much of what this advocacy organization is demanding is in strong alignment with the federal government's call for increased transparency from colleges and universities. But both organizations should consider the number of variables present in postgraduate job placement, earnings and debt that are far harder to see than what a data sheet can provide.
Many students who earn degrees in the south may not have opportunities to secure employment in the same region, which could impact certain reporting outcomes around placement and success of graduates. Additionally, some liberal arts-based industries are being graded like STEM industries for earnings and job placements, even though some research suggests that liberal arts majors have greater opportunities over their lifetimes than some STEM earners. Institutions should engage students to take a more prominent role in researching their intended careers, but not in the context of higher learning and credentialing having an immediate impact on professional prospects.