February 09, 2012

Wyden Bill Takes Guessing Game out of Choosing a College Degree

Legislation Gives Students and Families Access to Information Detailing How Much Students Can Expect to Make with a Degree in Specific Fields

Washington, D.C. – Higher education is often the ticket to success, offering opportunities to those with college degrees that those who do not have degrees are often denied. It is also, often times, an extremely expensive investment that many students and families must scrimp, save and borrow in order to afford. However, when it comes to the return on that investment, there is a lack of reliable information available to students and families regarding what the likelihood and cost of student success including their post graduation employment opportunities will be and what they can expect to earn. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced legislation to give students and families the information they need to make better decisions about their higher education.

(Senator Wyden unveiling the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act.)

The Student Right To Know Before You Go Act connects the dots between the school you go to, what you choose to study, how long it will take, what you can expect to earn in the workforce and how much you will owe when you graduate. This basic level of information is currently unavailable to the millions of college freshmen taking on mountains of debt that could take them decades to pay off.

“When it comes to higher learning, too many students and families are in the dark,” Wyden said. “The cost of a four-year degree can now run north of $100,000 and students deserve to know before they matriculate what they can expect from their huge investment in money and time. The data exists. This bill simply creates an efficient way to compile it and offers it to every prospective student so they can make the best decisions about their education, while protecting student privacy. Moreover, it brings greater transparency and ensures that students, families, policy makers and taxpayers receive the return on investment they deserve from the dollars spent on higher education.”

Between 1982 and 2007 the cost of a college education increased 439 percent. In 2010, graduates who took out loans left college with an average debt of more than $25,000. And far too many of those graduates are stuck between the twin hardships of debt and extremely high unemployment.

Despite this, higher education is still an invaluable investment as long as the students have the information they need to make the best decision for themselves. The Student Right to Know Before You Go Act gives easy access to detailed information about how much one could expect to make in any given field to prospective college students. This information will help students decide not only what type of degree to pursue and where to pursue it, but also the amount of debt they may incur and give them a leg up on preparing to pay down that debt.

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