CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, the House will consider H.R. 1949, the Improving Postsecondary Education Data for Students Act, under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on May 13, 2013 by Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) and referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, which held a mark up and reported the bill by voice vote.
H.R. 1949 directs the Secretary of Education to establish an Advisory Committee on Improving Postsecondary Education Data for the purpose of studying and improving the federal government’s efforts at providing information to students about postsecondary education. The bill sets out the parameters for the Committee’s review, including the types of information institutions of higher learning should collect and report, and the best way to make that information available to students and families. In addition, it requires an interim report to Congress within six months of enactment and a final report no later than one year after enactment. Finally, H.R. 1949 specifies that the Committee is to be funded through appropriations made available for general administrative expenses of the Department of Education.
Despite efforts to provide information about postsecondary opportunities to students, including the provisions included in the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act to address the issue, problems still persist. Many families find it difficult to access and understand all of the information available. Moreover, institutions have expressed concern about the data and reporting requirements as well as duplication of state and local efforts, and cite these issues as part of the reason for rising costs.
H.R. 1949 is a recognition that current federal efforts to provide critical information to families and students are ineffective and inefficient. By convening a panel representative of all stakeholders, H.R. 1949 seeks to increase transparency and access to information regarding postsecondary education opportunities for students and their families.
CBO estimates that H.R. 1949 “would have require about $1 million in fiscal year 2014, assuming the appropriation of the estimated amounts. Enacting H.R. 1949 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.”