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The official blog of @SCHEVResearch at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Discussions about our work, national higher education data policy, and highlights about the data we publish.

 

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KBYG and HEA Reauthorization (PROSPER)

by Administrator 1. December 2017 12:05

 

It's been a pretty big week for federal legislation. On Wednesday we saw the bipartisan introduction of the revised Student Right-to-Know Before You Go Act (KBYG). Virginia's Mark Warner is one of the patrons in the senate. The bill would do many of the same things that the College Transparency Act would do, except that when it comes to matching student records to Social Security, IRS, Veteran's Administration, or any other agency, it would do so through "secure multi-party computation." The bill defines this as:

(12) SECURE MULTI-PARTY COMPUTATION.—

The term ‘‘secure multi-party computation’’ means a  computerized system that enables different participating entities in possession of private sets of data to link and aggregate their data sets for the exclusive purpose of performing a finite number of pre-approved computations without transferring or otherwise revealing any private data to each other or anyone else. 

Essentially, a software service would accept encrypted individual data from one provider match to that of one or more other providers, and then return only aggregate data in a design that has been pre-approved (and of course developed, coded, etc.). This removes the possibility of prying eyes seeing the merged records. It is a pretty slick approach to sharing data for a very specific purpose.  Further, the bill requires that:

(A) a reporting entity’s raw data, including  personally identifiable information, shall not be accessible through the system to the Department or any party other than the reporting entity;

 

(B) no information about the data components used in the system is revealed by the system to the Department or any other party, except as incorporated into the outcome metrics described in section 5; and (C) no data or information that can identify an individual is revealed by the system to the Department or any other party; 

In other words, the US Department of Education would be running student record system that replaces IPEDS where they can't see any individual's data. This really solves a lot of thorny real and potential privacy problems that are involved with a national student record system. You can read the text of the bill here.

It will be interesting to see how this moves through in competition with the CTA and the negotiations around reauthorizing the Higher Education Act - which has been introduced in the house as PROSPER Act.

Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform checks in at 542 pages. I am not going to attempt to summarize it since others have done yeoman's work there, particularly Robert Kelchen who live tweeted his reading of the text today.

 

Robert has also written a blog post on some of the changes in the bill.

Suffice it to say, there are some huge changes in the bill. Some of these changes would undo a year of work around state authorization and reciprocal authorization of distance education, and prohibit the enforcement of such regulations.

Substantial increases in student loan limits are in the bill, with caps placed on PLUS loans, or what will replace those since the entire student lending program is rewritten away from federal direct lending.

Also in the bill is replacing College Navigator and College Scorecard with College Dashboard and adding new accountability measures that determine continued Title IV participation eligibility.

So, this will all be fascinating to watch. The 2008 bill was around 1,000 pages, and by the time other related bills are added in, we may well see that again.


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