Student-Level Data Collection Gains Traction: A Brief Review of Federal Legislation

Published Jun 25, 2015

by: Amanda Janice RobersonMamie Voight

In preparation for Higher Education Act reauthorization, the House of Representatives and the Senate have been focusing on improvements to, and modernization of, the postsecondary data infrastructure. This bicameral emphasis on data enhancements reflects a growing recognition that the use of high-quality data by students, institutions, policymakers, and researchers can advance student success. But currently available data do not sufficiently demonstrate the experience and outcomes of today’s college students.

One proposal for strengthening data systems to more effectively promote student success is a federal student-level data system. Despite a 2008 ban on the creation of this type of system, interest has re-emerged and grown in recent years. This memo, authored by IHEP’s Policy Research team, describes the growing tide of support for better postsecondary data, and provides an overview of and side-by-side comparisons of the four pieces of bipartisan legislation introduced since 2012—the Higher Education Affordability Act and three versions of the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act—that call for student-level data collection in varying forms.

View the PDF to read the memo.