US House passes Kilili education bill

Jul 12, 2016

Marianas Variety WASHINGTON, D.C. (Office of the CNMI Congressional Delegate) - The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation sponsored by U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan that will help students and their families get the information they need to choose a college.

The bill creates a new U.S. Department of Education tool, the College Dashboard, that will put key financial and academic data about the nation’s colleges and universities online.

“Students in my district, the Marianas, cannot just hop in the car to drive around looking at colleges,” Sablan said, referring to a rite of passage for many mainland U.S. families with students getting ready to select a college.

“Instead, providing an easy to navigate, web-based tool with information about costs, financial aid, enrollment, graduation rates, and job prospects for graduates will help these students and families make the important decision about where to go to college.”

Sablan sponsored the “Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act,” H.R. 3178, together with his House Education and Workforce Committee colleague Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-North Carolina. Congressman Kilili managed the bill for the Democratic side during debate on the House floor.

By standardizing the information from more than 7,000 colleges and universities the College Dashboard will make it easier for families to compare schools side-by-side. And by putting all the information in one place online Sablan’s bill will give families, even in geographically remote areas such as the Marianas, a better basis for making one of life’s most financially significant decisions.

“Making an investment in a college education for families that have never sent anyone to college is a leap of faith, a huge risk,” Sablan explained. “And if we can help reduce the risk or give those families a better sense of the value of the financial sacrifices they will have to make to pay for college, then we should do so.

“By supplying key information about colleges online the College Dashboard will help bridge the geographic and socio-economic gaps that can be a barrier to getting a degree for bright, hard-working, and ambitious students from my district, the Northern Mariana Islands, or from anywhere in America.”

The Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act was one of five college-related bills to pass the House today. Taken together these bipartisan measures are seen to be an early step towards reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, probably next year in the 115th U.S. Congress.