Bipartisanship is generally in short supply in Washington. However, Hamilton’s Program in Washington students got a glimpse of it at a briefing at the American Enterprise Institute on September 19. Senators Ron Wyden (D, Oregon) and Marco Rubio (R, Florida) discussed a bill they had introduced, the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act.
The bill would require the Department of Education and higher education institutions to assemble data that would allow students to see the results of entering institutions and programs with respect to completions rates, average debt, repayment rates, and future earnings.
As Sen. Rubio pointed out, he, like many first generation college students and their families, had very little idea what the risks and rewards were in taking on debt and entering a program. The bill aims to provide greater transparency about costs and outcomes. Sen. Wyden assured the audience that the bill was not intended to discourage study in the liberal arts and sciences.
The presentation was followed by a lively debate with a panel of committee staffers and policy experts about how the bill might work and whether it was the federal government’s business to assemble this kind of data. Bipartisanship may have reigned for a few brief moments, but disagreements continue, as is almost always the case in Washington.
The program is directed this semester by Professor of Government David Paris ’71. To follow the lives, work and opinions of Washington students, visit their blog, Potomac Fever .