The Utah State Legislature is considering a bill that would answer a lot of common questions shared by college students.
Representative Kim Coleman and Senator Howard Stephenson sponsored the Institutions of Higher Education Disclosure Requirements bill, aka HB100. If the bill becomes law, government-run colleges would be required to collect data about their programs, including costs, completion rates, job placement and wages, and then publish the data online.
In an interview with Libertas Institute, Coleman explained the legislation: “A lot of times students don’t always know what they are getting into, so what this [bill] does is discloses what the degree is going to cost them and their likelihood of finding work in that degree field.”
Coleman also says this information will help students decide if they should “invest $40,000 to $80,000 in four years of college.”
Josh Murray, a student at Salt Lake Community College, decided to skip school this semester in order to work and save money to take more classes.
“It would be really nice because you would know how much you would have to save up before going into that program,” he says. “I, personally, would love to see all that on their websites.”
The program data that would be published online can be crucial to students as they decide on a major or career field.
“It would have been convenient to know that [data] beforehand,” says Phillip Barlow, a visual art and design graduate. “It would have saved me time and research to make an effective decision in my career path.”
For Barlow, the new information may have led him to revisit his decision to major in visual art and design.
“It most likely would have changed my mind, considering pursuing a college degree was all about increasing my income in the future, not so much for my own enjoyment or happiness,” he says.
In an email, SLCC director of local government relations Scott Brown says the measure would build on what the college is already doing.
“Providing information to students in a clear and accurate manner is always the goal,” he says. “This bill would build on existing efforts to provide guidance on the costs and benefits of higher education to students.”
Visit the Utah State Legislature website to track the progress of this bill or to contact a legislator.