Big Brother’s Transcript Database


The U.S. Department of Education has proposed creating a national database of college students, but the idea has drawn heavy criticism for its use of Social Security numbers to identify individuals. The current system for reporting student progress, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, reports aggregate data for institutions and cannot accurately track students who start at one college or university and transfer to another. The proposed database would track individuals, offering more accurate data for graduation rates and other statistics, but some argue that those gains would come at the expense of student privacy. David Baime, vice president of government relations for the American Association of Community Colleges, said that despite the benefits to community colleges in particular from such a system, his organization opposes the plan "primarily due to privacy concerns, expressed to us by our members."David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said, "The proposal takes us down the slippery slope toward Big Brother oversight of college students, and of those same citizens beyond their college years."

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