Gates Foundation targets opponents of massive student database


Michael Stratford
Inside Higher Ed
March 11, 2014

A new report published Tuesday by the New America Foundation criticizes several higher education lobbying associations for standing in the way of a proposed federal database that would provide more expansive data about how colleges are performing.

The report — “College Blackout: How the Higher Education Lobby Fought to Keep Students in the Dark” — outlines the history of a proposal to create a federal student-unit record system, which has been a lightning rod for controversy since it was first suggested by then-Education Secretary Margaret Spellings’s higher education commission in 2005.

Such a database would be able to track students as they move into higher education and through college — or, increasingly, multiple colleges — and into the work force. It would produce more robust information about student outcomes, such as graduation rates and salary information.

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