Text: S.1121 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (05/15/2017)

 
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[S. 1121 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

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115th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1121

           To establish a postsecondary student data system.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                              May 15, 2017

 Mr. Hatch (for himself, Ms. Warren, Mr. Cassidy, and Mr. Whitehouse) 
introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the 
          Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
           To establish a postsecondary student data system.

    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 ``College Transparency Act''.

SEC. 2. POSTSECONDARY STUDENT DATA SYSTEM.

    (a) In General.--Section 132 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 
(20 U.S.C. 1015a) is amended--
            (1) by redesignating subsection (l) as subsection (m); and
            (2) by inserting after subsection (k) the following:
    ``(l) Postsecondary Student Data System.--
            ``(1) In general.--
                    ``(A) Establishment of system.--The Commissioner 
                for Education Statistics (referred to in this 
                subsection as the `Commissioner') shall develop and 
                maintain a secure, privacy-protected postsecondary 
                student data system in order to--
                            ``(i) accurately evaluate student 
                        enrollment patterns, progression, completion, 
                        and postcollegiate outcomes, and higher 
                        education costs and financial aid at the 
                        student level;
                            ``(ii) assist with transparency, 
                        institutional improvement, and analysis of 
                        Federal aid programs;
                            ``(iii) provide more accurate, complete, 
                        and customizable information for students and 
                        families making decisions about postsecondary 
                        education; and
                            ``(iv) reduce the reporting burden on 
                        institutions of higher education postsecondary 
                        institutions, in accordance with section 5(b) 
                        of the College Transparency Act.
                    ``(B) Avoiding duplicated reporting.--
                Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, to 
                the extent that another provision of this section 
                requires the same reporting or collection of data that 
                is required under this subsection, a postsecondary 
                institution, or the Secretary or Commissioner, may use 
                the reporting or data required for the postsecondary 
                student data system under this subsection to satisfy 
                both requirements.
                    ``(C) Development process.--In developing the 
                postsecondary student data system described in this 
                subsection, the Commissioner shall--
                            ``(i) focus on the needs of--
                                    ``(I) users of the data system; and
                                    ``(II) entities, including 
                                postsecondary institutions, reporting 
                                to the data system;
                            ``(ii) take into consideration, to the 
                        extent practicable--
                                    ``(I) the guidelines outlined in 
                                the U.S. Web Design Standards 
                                maintained by the General Services 
                                Administration and the Digital Services 
                                Playbook and TechFAR Handbook for 
                                Procuring Digital Services Using Agile 
                                Processes of the U.S. Digital Service; 
                                and
                                    ``(II) the relevant successor 
                                documents or recommendations of such 
                                guidelines;
                            ``(iii) use modern, relevant technology and 
                        enhance and update the data system as necessary 
                        to carry out the purpose of this subsection; 
                        and
                            ``(iv) ensure data privacy and security in 
                        accordance with the most recent Federal 
                        standards developed by the National Institute 
                        of Standards and Technology.
            ``(2) Data elements.--
                    ``(A) In general.--The Commissioner, after 
                consultation with postsecondary institutions (including 
                institutions of higher education) and other 
                stakeholders (including individuals with expertise in 
                data privacy and security, and in consumer protection), 
                shall determine--
                            ``(i) the data elements to be included in 
                        the postsecondary student data system, in 
                        accordance with subparagraphs (B) and (C); and
                            ``(ii) how to include the data elements 
                        required under subparagraph (B), and any 
                        additional data elements selected under 
                        subparagraph (C), in the postsecondary student 
                        data system.
                    ``(B) Required data elements.--Such data elements 
                shall include, at a minimum, the following:
                            ``(i) Student-level data elements necessary 
                        to calculate the information within the 
                        student-related surveys in the Integrated 
                        Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), as 
                        such surveys are in effect on the day before 
                        the date of enactment of the College 
                        Transparency Act.
                            ``(ii) Student-level data elements 
                        necessary to allow for reporting student 
                        enrollment, persistence, retention, transfer, 
                        and completion measures for all credential 
                        levels (including certificate and associate, 
                        baccalaureate, and advanced degree levels), 
                        within and across postsecondary institutions 
                        (including across all categories of institution 
                        level and control). The data elements shall 
                        allow for reporting about all such data 
                        disaggregated by the following categories:
                                    ``(I) Enrollment status as a first-
                                time student.
                                    ``(II) Attendance intensity, 
                                whether full-time or part-time.
                                    ``(III) Credential-seeking status, 
                                by credential level.
                                    ``(IV) Race or ethnicity.
                                    ``(V) Age intervals.
                                    ``(VI) Gender.
                                    ``(VII) Program of study (as 
                                applicable).
                                    ``(VIII) Military or veteran status 
                                (as determined based on receipt of 
                                veteran's education benefits, as 
                                defined in section 480(c)).
                                    ``(IX) Status as a postsecondary 
                                athlete.
                                    ``(X) Federal Pell Grant recipient 
                                status.
                    ``(C) Other data elements.--The Commissioner may, 
                after consultation with postsecondary institutions 
                (including institutions of higher education) and other 
                stakeholders (including individuals with expertise in 
                data privacy and security, and in consumer protection), 
                make a determination to promulgate regulations to 
                include additional data elements in the postsecondary 
                student data system, which may include first generation 
                status, economic status, remedial coursework, or 
                gateway course completion.
                    ``(D) Reevaluation.--Not less than once every 5 
                years after the implementation of the postsecondary 
                student data system described in this subsection, the 
                Commissioner, in consultation with postsecondary 
                institutions (including institutions of higher 
                education), and other stakeholders, shall review the 
                data elements included in the postsecondary student 
                data system and may revise the determination of data 
                elements to be included in such system.
                    ``(E) Prohibitions.--The Commissioner shall not 
                include health data, student discipline records or 
                data, elementary and secondary education data, exact 
                address, citizenship or national origin status, course 
                grades, individual postsecondary entrance examination 
                results, political affiliation, or religion in the 
                postsecondary student data system under this 
                subsection.
            ``(3) Linking with other federal data systems.--
                    ``(A) In general.--The Commissioner shall 
                coordinate, and enter into sharing agreements, with 
                other Federal agencies to create secure linkages with 
                relevant Federal data systems, including data systems 
                of the Office of Federal Student Aid, the Department of 
                the Treasury, the Department of Defense, the Department 
                of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security 
                Administration, and the Bureau of the Census.
                    ``(B) Categories of data.--The Commissioner shall, 
                at a minimum, seek to ensure that the secure data 
                system linkages described in subparagraph (A) permit 
                consistent reporting of the following categories of 
                data for all students, including students receiving 
                Federal grants and loans and students receiving 
                veteran's education benefits, as defined in section 
                480(c).
                            ``(i) Enrollment, retention, transfer, and 
                        completion outcomes for all students.
                            ``(ii) Financial indicators for students 
                        receiving Federal grants and loans, including 
                        grant and loan aid by source, cumulative 
                        student debt, loan repayment status, and 
                        repayment plan.
                            ``(iii) Post-collegiate outcomes for all 
                        students, including earnings, employment, and 
                        further education, by program of study and 
                        credential level and as measured--
                                    ``(I) immediately after leaving 
                                postsecondary education; and
                                    ``(II) at later time intervals 
                                appropriate to the credential sought 
                                and earned.
                    ``(C) Data linkage streamlining and 
                confidentiality.--
                            ``(i) Streamlining.--In creating the secure 
                        data system linkages described in this 
                        paragraph, the Commissioner shall--
                                    ``(I) ensure that the linkages are 
                                not always connected, but occur at 
                                appropriate intervals, as determined by 
                                the Commissioner; and
                                    ``(II) seek to--
                                            ``(aa) streamline the data 
                                        collection and reporting 
                                        requirements for postsecondary 
                                        institutions;
                                            ``(bb) minimize duplicate 
                                        reporting across or within 
                                        Federal agencies or 
                                        departments, including 
                                        reporting requirements 
                                        applicable to postsecondary 
                                        institutions under the 
                                        Workforce Innovation and 
                                        Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3101 
                                        et seq.);
                                            ``(cc) protect student 
                                        privacy; and
                                            ``(dd) streamline the 
                                        application process for student 
                                        loan benefit programs available 
                                        to borrowers based on data 
                                        available from different 
                                        Federal data systems.
                            ``(ii) Review.--Not less often than once 
                        every 5 years after the establishment of the 
                        postsecondary student data system under this 
                        subsection, the Commissioner shall review 
                        methods for streamlining data collection from 
                        postsecondary institutions and minimizing 
                        duplicative reporting within the Department of 
                        Education and across Federal agencies that 
                        provide data for the postsecondary student data 
                        system.
                            ``(iii) Confidentiality.--The Commissioner 
                        shall ensure that any linking or sharing of 
                        data through data system linkages established 
                        in accordance with this paragraph--
                                    ``(I) complies with the security 
                                and privacy protections described in 
                                this subsection and other Federal data 
                                protection protocols;
                                    ``(II) follows industry best 
                                practices commensurate with the 
                                sensitivity of specific data elements 
                                or metrics; and
                                    ``(III) does not result in the 
                                creation of a single Federal database 
                                at the Department of Education that 
                                maintains the information reported 
                                across other Federal agencies.
            ``(4) Publicly available information.--
                    ``(A) In general.--The Commissioner shall make the 
                summary aggregate information described in subparagraph 
                (C), at a minimum, publicly available through a user-
                friendly consumer information website that--
                            ``(i) provides appropriate mechanisms for 
                        users to customize and filter information by 
                        institutional and student characteristics;
                            ``(ii) allows users to build summary 
                        aggregate reports of information, subject to 
                        subparagraph (B); and
                            ``(iii) uses appropriate statistical 
                        disclosure limitation techniques necessary to 
                        ensure that the data released to the public 
                        cannot be used to identify specific 
                        individuals.
                    ``(B) No personally identifiable information 
                available.--The summary aggregate information described 
                in this paragraph shall not include personally 
                identifiable information.
                    ``(C) Information available.--The summary aggregate 
                information described in this paragraph shall, at a 
                minimum, include each of the following for each 
                postsecondary institution:
                            ``(i) Measures of student access, 
                        including--
                                    ``(I) admissions selectivity and 
                                yield; and
                                    ``(II) enrollment, disaggregated by 
                                each category described in paragraph 
                                (2)(B)(ii), Federal grant recipient 
                                status, and Federal loan recipient 
                                status.
                            ``(ii) Measures of student progression, 
                        including retention rates and persistence 
                        rates, disaggregated by each category described 
                        in paragraph (2)(B)(ii), Federal grant 
                        recipient status, and Federal loan recipient 
                        status.
                            ``(iii) Measures of student completion, 
                        including--
                                    ``(I) transfer rates and completion 
                                rates, disaggregated by each category 
                                described in paragraph (2)(B)(ii), 
                                Federal grant recipient status, and 
                                Federal loan recipient status; and
                                    ``(II) number of completions, 
                                disaggregated by each category 
                                described in paragraph (2)(B)(ii), 
                                Federal grant recipient status, and 
                                Federal loan recipient status.
                            ``(iv) Measures of student costs, 
                        including--
                                    ``(I) tuition, required fees, total 
                                cost of attendance, and net price after 
                                total grant aid, disaggregated by in-
                                State tuition or in-district tuition 
                                status (if applicable), program of 
                                study (if applicable), and credential 
                                level; and
                                    ``(II) typical grant amounts and 
                                loan amounts received by students 
                                reported separately from Federal, 
                                State, local, and institutional 
                                sources, and cumulative debt, 
                                disaggregated by each category 
                                described in paragraph (2)(B)(ii) and 
                                completion status.
                            ``(v) Measures of post-collegiate student 
                        outcomes, including employment rates, median 
                        earnings, loan repayment and default rates, and 
                        further education rates. These measures shall--
                                    ``(I) be disaggregated by each 
                                category described in paragraph 
                                (2)(B)(ii) and completion status; and
                                    ``(II) be measured immediately 
                                after leaving postsecondary education 
                                and at time intervals appropriate to 
                                the credential sought or earned.
                    ``(D) Development criteria.--In developing the 
                method and format of making the information described 
                in this paragraph publicly available, the Commissioner 
                shall--
                            ``(i) focus on the need of the users of the 
                        information, which are students, potential 
                        students, researchers, and other consumers of 
                        education data;
                            ``(ii) take into consideration, to the 
                        extent practicable, the guidelines described in 
                        paragraph (1)(C)(ii)(I), and relevant successor 
                        documents or recommendations of such 
                        guidelines;
                            ``(iii) use modern, relevant technology and 
                        enhance and update the postsecondary student 
                        data system with information, as necessary to 
                        carry out the purpose of this paragraph; and
                            ``(iv) ensure data privacy and security for 
                        the information in accordance with the most 
                        recent Federal standards developed by the 
                        National Institute of Standards and Technology.
            ``(5) Permissible disclosures of data.--
                    ``(A) Nonpublicly available data.--
                            ``(i) In general.--The Commissioner shall 
                        develop and implement a secure process for 
                        making student-level, non-personally 
                        identifiable information from the postsecondary 
                        student data system available for research and 
                        evaluation purposes approved by the 
                        Commissioner in a manner compatible with 
                        practices for disclosing National Center for 
                        Education Statistics survey data as in effect 
                        on the day before the date of enactment of the 
                        College Transparency Act.
                            ``(ii) Availability for institutional 
                        improvement and program evaluation.--The 
                        Commissioner shall create a process through 
                        which any postsecondary institution, or 
                        postsecondary education system, that fully 
                        participates in the postsecondary student data 
                        system described in this subsection may request 
                        and receive from the Commissioner non-
                        personally identifiable information, and 
                        aggregate summary data, related to students who 
                        have attended the institution or system, as 
                        applicable, for the purposes of institutional 
                        improvement and program evaluation.
                            ``(iii) Providing data to institutions.--
                        The Commissioner shall provide, at least 
                        annually, each postsecondary institution that 
                        fully participates in the postsecondary student 
                        data system under this subsection with a set of 
                        program-level, non-personally identifiable 
                        information from the postsecondary student data 
                        system for students currently or formerly 
                        associated with the institution that includes 
                        aggregated information from other Federal data 
                        sources included in the system.
                            ``(iv) Providing data to states.--The 
                        Commissioner shall create a process through 
                        which States may request and receive 
                        institution-level aggregate data outcomes for 
                        postsecondary institutions located in the 
                        State.
                            ``(v) Regulations.--The Commissioner shall 
                        promulgate regulations to ensure fair, secure, 
                        and equitable access to such data.
                    ``(B) Disclosure limitations.--In carrying out the 
                public reporting and disclosure requirements of this 
                Act, the Commissioner shall use appropriate statistical 
                disclosure limitation techniques necessary to ensure 
                that the data released to the public cannot include 
                personally identifiable information or be used to 
                identify specific individuals.
                    ``(C) Sale of data prohibited.--Data collected 
                under this subsection, including the public use data 
                set and data comprising the summary aggregate 
                information available under paragraph (4), shall not be 
                sold to any third party by the Commissioner, any 
                postsecondary institution, or any other entity.
                    ``(D) Limitation on use by other federal 
                agencies.--The Commissioner shall not allow any other 
                Federal agency to use data collected under this 
                subsection for any purpose except as explicitly 
                authorized by this Act.
                    ``(E) Law enforcement.--Personally identifiable 
                information collected under this subsection shall not 
                be used for any law enforcement activity or any other 
                activity that would result in adverse action against 
                any student, including debt collection activity or 
                enforcement of the immigration laws.
                    ``(F) Limitation of use for federal rankings or 
                summative rating system.--The comprehensive data 
                collection and analysis necessary for the postsecondary 
                student data system under this subsection shall not be 
                used by the Secretary or any Federal entity to 
                establish any Federal ranking system of postsecondary 
                institutions or a system that results in a summative 
                Federal rating of postsecondary institutions.
                    ``(G) Rule of construction.--Nothing in this 
                paragraph shall be construed to prevent the use of 
                individual categories of aggregate information to be 
                used for accountability purposes, such as for the 
                calculation of the cohort default rate under section 
                435(m).
            ``(6) Submission of data.--
                    ``(A) Required submission.--Each institution of 
                higher education participating in a program under title 
                IV, or the assigned agent of such institution, shall, 
                in accordance with section 487(a)(17), collect, and 
                submit to the Commissioner, the data requested by the 
                Commissioner to carry out this subsection.
                    ``(B) Voluntary submission.--Any postsecondary 
                institution not participating in a program under title 
                IV may voluntarily participate in the postsecondary 
                student data system under this subsection by collecting 
                and submitting data to the Commissioner, as the 
                Commissioner may request to carry out this subsection.
            ``(7) Unlawful willful disclosure.--
                    ``(A) In general.--It shall be unlawful for any 
                person who obtains or has access to personally 
                identifiable information in connection with the 
                postsecondary student data system described in this 
                subsection to willfully disclose to any person (except 
                as authorized in this Act or any Federal law) such 
                personally identifiable information.
                    ``(B) Penalty.--Any person who violates 
                subparagraph (A) shall be fined not more than $5,000, 
                imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both, together 
                with the costs of prosecution.
                    ``(C) Employee of officer of the united states.--If 
                a violation of subparagraph (A) is committed by any 
                officer or employee of the United States, the officer 
                or employee shall be dismissed from office or 
                discharged from employment upon conviction for the 
                violation.
            ``(8) Data security.--The Commissioner shall produce and 
        update as needed guidance and regulations relating to privacy, 
        security, and access which shall govern the use and disclosure 
        of data collected in connection with the activities authorized 
        in this subsection. The guidance and regulations developed and 
        reviewed shall protect data from unauthorized access, use, and 
        disclosure, and shall include--
                    ``(A) an audit capability;
                    ``(B) access controls;
                    ``(C) requirements to ensure sufficient data 
                security, quality, validity, and reliability; and
                    ``(D) other protection in accordance with the most 
                recent Federal standards developed by the National 
                Institute of Standards and Technology.
            ``(9) Data collection.--The Commissioner shall ensure that 
        data collection under this subsection complies with section 
        552a of title 5, United States Code.
            ``(10) Definitions.--In this subsection:
                    ``(A) Institution of higher education.--The term 
                `institution of higher education' has the meaning given 
                the term in section 102.
                    ``(B) Personally identifiable information.--The 
                term `personally identifiable information' has the 
                meaning given the term in section 444 of the General 
                Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. 1232g).
                    ``(C) Postsecondary institution.--The term 
                `postsecondary institution' includes an institution of 
                higher education.''.
    (b) Conforming Amendments.--Section 487(d) is amended--
            (1) by striking paragraph (3); and
            (2) by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (3).

SEC. 3. REPEAL OF PROHIBITION ON STUDENT DATA SYSTEM.

    Section 134 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1015c) 
is repealed.

SEC. 4. INSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS.

    Paragraph (17) of section 487(a) of the Higher Education Act of 
1965 (20 U.S.C. 1094(a)) is amended to read as follows:
            ``(17) The institution or the assigned agent of the 
        institution will collect and submit data to the Commissioner 
        for Education Statistics in accordance with section 132(l), the 
        nonstudent related surveys within the Integrated Postsecondary 
        Education Data System (IPEDS), or any other Federal 
        postsecondary institution data collection effort (as designated 
        by the Secretary), in a timely manner and to the satisfaction 
        of the Secretary.''.

SEC. 5. EFFECTIVE DATE; TRANSITION PROVISIONS.

    (a) Effective Date.--Sections 1, 2, and 4 of this Act, and the 
amendments made by such sections, shall take effect on the date that is 
2 years after the date of enactment of this Act.
    (b) In General.--The Secretary of Education and the Commissioner 
for Education Statistics shall take such steps as are necessary to 
ensure that the transition to, and implementation of, the postsecondary 
student data system required under section 132(l) of the Higher 
Education Act of 1965, as added by section 2 of this Act, happens in a 
manner that initially reduces the reporting burden for postsecondary 
institutions that reported into the Integrated Postsecondary Education 
Data System (IPEDS) on the day before enactment of this Act. Such steps 
may include testing early versions of the postsecondary student data 
system or early versions of the data collection or aggregate 
information summary features of the system with a targeted group of 
users.
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