Hayes Introduces Bill to Improve College Graduation Rate Transparency
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes introduced the Time To Completion Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will help ensure community colleges more accurately report on graduation rates to provide better transparency for students selecting an academic institution. Current law requires institutions of higher education to report on graduation rates for first-time, full-time students, excluding millions of nontraditional students and creating incomplete and inaccurate information.
The Time To Completion Act would modify existing reporting requirements to better reflect diverse populations of mostly part-time and non-first-time students, students with disabilities and others who are earning a full-time degree or certificate at community colleges.
“If a high school student, returning college student, or certificate-seeking student is looking for relatable data to determine which community college they should attend, the data would be lacking useful information. Graduation in four years is a small percentage of the total population, and this data should be shared consistently across all demographics using current metrics. As a graduate of a community college, this information would have been critical as I made decisions about my academic journey,” said Congresswoman Jahana Hayes.
“While representing the youngest congressional district, I am constantly seeking ways to improve educational opportunities for students,” said Congressman John R. Curtis. “I am proud to partner with my colleague, Congresswoman Hayes, to introduce bipartisan legislation that will increase transparency and enable students to make more informed decisions for themselves and their families regarding higher education.”
“The amendment proposed by the Time To Completion Act will provide greater transparency in reporting graduation rates that more accurately reflect community college demographics. Similar to community colleges across the country, the majority of students at Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC) have complex lives that require them to work part- or even full-time while taking courses; consequently, an average of 65% and above of NVCC’s students are part-time and take one to three courses each semester. Importantly, by substituting the phrase ‘normal time’ with ‘time for completion or graduation,' this Act removes any assumptions about what might constitute “normal” and, thus, removes any stigma that might be associated with taking three, four, or more years to complete a degree or certificate,” said Naugatuck Valley Community College Chief Executive Officer Lisa Dresdner, PhD.
The bill’s text is available here.
Congresswoman Jahana Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District. She was a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.