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Catholic University Journal of Law and Technology

Catholic University Journal of Law and Technology

Abstract

The federal higher education data system is broken and in need of reform. The Office of Federal Student Aid at the Department of Education has over $1.136 trillion in net liabilities on its balance sheets, most of which consist of federal loans which enable students to access higher education. Despite this large investment, the federal government does not have a coherent way to provide students, parents, institutions, or policy makers with transparent data on student completion, retention, loan repayment, and post-college success, due to federal policies that prevent data from being collected at the student-level. The resulting system is burdensome on institutions and unhelpful to consumers of higher education.

This comment recommends that Congress establish a student-level data network in order to make better use of existing government data on postsecondary students. Specifically, a student-level data network should leverage existing data collections to close the gaps in post-secondary data, reduce the data-reporting burden on institutions, and provide consumers of higher education with transparency and outcomes information.

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