Text: H.R.1949 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Referred in Senate (05/23/2013)


113th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 1949

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 23, 2013

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


AN ACT

To direct the Secretary of Education to convene the Advisory Committee on Improving Postsecondary Education Data to conduct a study on improvements to postsecondary education transparency at the Federal level.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Improving Postsecondary Education Data for Students Act”.

SEC. 2. Study on improvements to postsecondary education transparency at the Federal level.

(a) Formation of Advisory Committee on Improving Postsecondary Education Data.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Education shall convene the Advisory Committee on Improving Postsecondary Education Data (in this Act referred to as the “Advisory Committee”), which shall be comprised of 15 members who represent economically, racially, and geographically diverse populations appointed by the Secretary in consultation with the Commissioner for Education Statistics, including—

(A) individuals representing different sectors of institutions of higher education, including individuals representing undergraduate and graduate education;

(B) experts in the field of higher education policy;

(C) State officials;

(D) students and other stakeholders from the higher education community;

(E) representatives from the business community;

(F) experts in choice in consumer markets;

(G) privacy experts;

(H) college and career counselors at secondary schools;

(I) experts in data policy, collection, and use; and

(J) experts in labor markets.

(2) CHAIRPERSON.—The Secretary shall appoint the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee.

(b) Study required.—The Advisory Committee shall conduct a study examining—

(1) the types of information, including information related to costs of postsecondary education, sources of financial assistance (including Federal student loans), student outcomes, and postgraduation earnings, the Federal Government should collect and report on institutions of higher education to assist students and families in their search for an institution of higher education;

(2) how such information should be collected and reported, including how to disaggregate information on student outcomes by subgroups of students, such as full-time students, part-time students, nontraditional students, first generation college students, students who are veterans, and Federal Pell Grant recipients under subpart 1 of part A of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070a); and

(3) the ways in which the Federal Government may make such information more readily available to—

(A) students and their families in a format that is easily accessible and understandable, and will aid students and their families in making decisions; and

(B) States, local governments, secondary schools, individual or groups of institutions of higher education, and private-sector entities.

(c) Scope of study.—In conducting the study under this Act, the Advisory Committee shall, at a minimum, examine—

(1) whether the current Federal transparency initiatives on postsecondary education—

(A) are reporting consistent information about individual institutions of higher education across Federal agencies; and

(B) are similar to transparency initiatives on postsecondary education carried out by States, individual or groups of institutions of higher education, or private-sector entities;

(2) whether—

(A) the collection and reporting of postgraduation earnings by the Federal Government is feasible, and if feasible, the options for collecting and reporting such information;

(B) collecting and reporting such information would improve the use of Federal transparency initiatives and ease decisionmaking for students and their families; and

(C) collecting and reporting such information would have an impact on student privacy, and if so, how such impact may be minimized;

(3) whether any other information, including information relating to student outcomes or identified under the review required under subsection (d), should be collected and reported by the Federal Government to improve the utility of such initiatives for students and their families, and if so, how such information may be collected and reported, including whether the information should be disaggregated by subgroups of students;

(4) whether any information currently collected and reported by the Federal Government on institutions of higher education is not useful for students and their families and should not be so collected and reported;

(5) the manner in which the information from Federal transparency initiatives is made available to students and their families, and whether format changes may help the information become more easily understood and widely utilized by students and their families;

(6) any activities being carried out by the Federal Government, States, individual or groups of institutions of higher education, or private-sector entities to help inform students and their families of the availability of Federal transparency initiatives;

(7) the cost to institutions of higher education of reporting to the Federal Government the information that is being collected and reported through Federal transparency initiatives, and how such cost may be minimized; and

(8) the relevant research described in subsection (d).

(d) Review of relevant research.—In conducting the study under this Act, the Advisory Committee shall review and consider—

(1) research and studies, if any, that have been conducted to determine questions most frequently asked by students and families to help inform their search for an institution of higher education;

(2) the types of information students seek before enrolling in an institution of higher education;

(3) whether the availability to students and their families of additional information on institutions of higher education will be beneficial or confusing;

(4) results, if any, that are available from consumer testing of Federal, State, institution of higher education, and private-sector transparency initiatives on postsecondary education that have been made publicly available on or after the date that is 10 years before the date of enactment of this Act; and

(5) any gaps in the research, studies, and results described in paragraphs (1) and (4) relating to the types of information students seek before enrolling in an institution of higher education.

(e) Consultation.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—In conducting the study under this Act, the Advisory Committee shall—

(A) hold public hearings to consult with parents and students; and

(B) consult with a broad range of interested parties in higher education, including appropriate researchers, representatives of secondary schools (including college and career counselors) and institutions of higher education from different sectors of such institutions (including undergraduate and graduate education), State administrators, and Federal officials.

(2) CONSULTATION WITH THE AUTHORIZING COMMITTEES.—The Advisory Committee shall consult on a regular basis with the authorizing committees in conducting the study under this Act.

(f) Reports to authorizing committees.—

(1) INTERIM REPORT.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Advisory Committee shall prepare and submit to the authorizing committees and the Secretary an interim report describing the progress made in conducting the study under this Act and any preliminary findings on the topics identified under subsection (c).

(2) FINAL REPORT.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Advisory Committee shall prepare and submit to the authorizing committees and the Secretary a final report on the study, including—

(i) recommendations for legislative, regulatory, and administrative actions based on findings related to the topics identified under subsection (c); and

(ii) a summary of the research described in subsection (d).

(B) CONSULTATION WITH NCES.—The Advisory Committee shall consult with the Commissioner of Education Statistics prior to making recommendations under subparagraph (A)(i) with respect to improving the information being collected and reported by the Federal Government on institutions of higher education.

(g) Availability of funds.—The amount necessary to conduct the study under this Act shall be made available from amounts available to the Secretary for administrative expenses of the Department of Education.

(h) Definitions.—For purposes of this Act:

(1) AUTHORIZING COMMITTEES.—The term “authorizing committees” has the meaning given the term in section 103 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1003).

(2) FIRST GENERATION COLLEGE STUDENT.—The term “first generation college student” has the meaning given the term in section 402A(h) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070a–11(h)).

(3) INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION.—The term “institution of higher education” has the meaning given the term in section 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1002), except that such term does not include institutions described in subsection (a)(1)(C) of such section 102.

(4) SECONDARY SCHOOL.—The term “secondary school” has the meaning given the term in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801).

(5) SECRETARY.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Education.

(6) STATE.—The term “State” has the meaning given the term in section 103 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1003).

(7) STUDENT.—The term “student” includes—

(A) a prospective student;

(B) a student enrolled in an institution of higher education;

(C) a nontraditional student (as defined in section 803(j)(2) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1161c(j)(2))); and

(D) a veteran (as defined in section 480(c)(1) of such Act (20 U.S.C. 1087vv(c)(1))) who is a student or prospective student.

Passed the House of Representatives May 22, 2013.

Attest: karen l. haas,   
Clerk