State Pushes For Higher Education Transparency

Ann McClure's picture

The House Committee on Higher Education and Workforce Development is considering legislation that would bring more transparency to Oregon’s colleges and universities, including career colleges.

Committee Chair Rep. Michael Dembrow, a Democrat who represents Northeast Portland and Parkrose, said, “We’ll be looking at more transparency in terms of students taking on debt, to make sure they have an understanding of how much they’ll have to pay and their chances of being able to pay.”

Dembrow said one approach would build a statewide database comparing all institutions of higher education by category, with licensing and accreditation information, job placement rates and loan default rates for graduates.

The database would not single out career schools but would force them to reveal some key numbers. The state licenses 223 career schools with about 30,000 students. Enrollment has increased since unemployment rates shot up in 2008, and state regulators said they receive a small but steady stream of complaints from students.

Read more