The Tennessee General Assembly is considering requiring more transparency when it comes to higher education. If passed, the “Students Right to Know Act” would require the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) to publish a database concerning different state universities or vocational schools’ attendance costs, monthly student loan payments, graduation or completion rates, and post-graduate salaries.
The bill was introduced by State Representative Kent Calfee (R-Kingston) and State Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield). The latest amendments to the act rewrote the bill to clarify and expand its scope – as well as expand the data to be included within the database on military options for students.
In its entirety, the bill would require the commission to compile data on each university or vocational schools’ average attendance costs, monthly student loan payments, three-year student loan defaulters rate, total student loan debt, and graduation or completion rates, starting salaries. The database would include the number of university graduates whose post-graduate work didn’t require a college degree.
Additionally, the commission would compile and publish data on the most in-demand jobs in the state, and the base pay for and benefits for military enlistment.
The last fiscal note for this legislation, submitted nearly one month ago, projected an increase in state expenditures by $147,200 in the first fiscal year, and just under $277,000 for all subsequent years.
If passed by the General Assembly, the bill would require THEC to hire on three programmers and one program manager to compile the data, as well as develop and maintain the student-accessible database.
The act has progressed steadily through the General Assembly.
The bill was recommended for passage by the House Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee, and assigned to subcommittee on Monday. It is awaiting final review before the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee.
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