The Business Council of New York State, Inc. opposes S.8208 (Thomas) / A.10298 (Epstein), which would require degree-granting institutions of higher education to make a number of annual disclosures in a publicly published report for the State Education Department.
In a time when the nation is in the middle of a public health crisis and higher education is grappling with how to continue to educate students and keep faculty and staff employed, all while keeping everyone safe, this additional reporting burden is unnecessary and duplicative.
There are a number of existing resources for students and families to obtain the information sought after in the bill which allow for a more thorough comparison and analysis of college value. The National Center for Education Statistics has the comprehensive Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) (https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/use-the-data), which is the most reputable and accurate public data source for the information students and families need to make informed higher education decisions. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education has the College Scorecard (https://collegescorecard.ed.gov) which provides data and analysis on colleges across the country. In New York State, the State University of New York (SUNY) has SUNY Smart Track (https://www.suny.edu/smarttrack), a resource to help families make informed financial decisions in college planning. There are also several other reputable non-profit organizations that collect and analyze college data and outcomes which students and families can easily access online.
It is hard to imagine the State’s collection and presentation of this data will provide more informative and useful information for students and families than the federal government and organizations that have been doing this work for decades. Instead, it will be a reporting burden for colleges in a time when they are already dealing with the challenges of how to educate and keep students safe during a global pandemic.
While The Business Council strongly supports policies and programs that prepare students for college and career to ensure New York has the qualified workforce necessary to further grow our economy, we strongly oppose S.8208 (Thomas) / A.10298 (Epstein) which will only burden higher education with unnecessary and duplicative reporting at a time when their primary focus should be on student outcomes and maintaining a safe campus community.