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California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools

Aid Administrators Back Federal Student Unit Record

08/08/2014

Inside Higher Ed. August 7, 2014.

The main group representing student aid administrators has backed a proposal to create a federal database that tracks student progress through higher education and into the workforce.

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators announced Wednesday that it now supports a “limited” student-unit record system because it would provide more accurate and comprehensive data than the government’s current collection of information, which leaves out transfer and nontraditional students, for example. “As higher education policy is increasingly focused on student success, completion, and outcomes, including the recent negotiations over gainful employment regulations, it becomes increasingly critical to have robust data that gives an accurate picture,” the group said in areport.

NASFAA is the latest organization to call for a repeal of the federal prohibition on a student unit record database. Last fall, two community college associations backed the proposal, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities also supports such a database.

Private colleges, though, have long been resistant to a student unit record database. They argue that storing student-level data in a single federal database would threaten student privacy.

Among the other recommendations for policy changes in the report released Wednesday: eliminating student aid rules that have nothing to do with financial aid, such as the requirement that colleges celebrate Constitution Day, promote voter registration, and make certain disclosures about their athletic department.