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Proposal asks higher ed to speculate on post-graduation success

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(The Center Square) – Colleges and universities in Wisconsin could soon be required to share more than just the cost of tuition, books, and room and board.

A plan is making its way through the state Senate that would require the state universities, technical colleges, and other private universities to tell high school students about the cost of a degree, the debt they may be taking on, and the chances that they will actually get a job in their field after graduation.

“I have known more than one barista who has complained that, despite having a bachelor’s degree, they could not find a job in their field of study,” Rep. Tom Michalski, R-Elm Grove, told lawmakers Wednesday. “They may have made different choices had they known the likely outcomes of their early career choices.”

Sen. Dan Feyen, R-Fond du Lac, said prospective college students can often, easily find out about tuition costs and financial aid. But he wants high school students and their parents to have more information.

Sen. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, questioned just how realistic it is for colleges to get some of that information.

“We can’t mandate that students report what they’re doing five years down the line,” Ballweg added. “I think that’s maybe a hope.”

Michalski said a lot of the information is already available, but it’s not easy to find, or easy for high school kids to understand.

“Every college and university is reporting it slightly differently,” Michalski said. “In addition, there’s some information there that isn’t on those lists. Specifically, whether individuals are working in their field of study post-graduation.”

The proposal next heads to the full Senate for a vote.

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