Washington, D.C. – Dr. Mark Schneider, President of College Measures and a Vice President at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), testified May 6, 2015 before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) on the need to make consumer information more readily available for those pursuing a postsecondary education, including associate’s degrees and certificates.
Schneider, former commissioner of the federal National Center on Education Statistics, noted in prepared remarks that “gathering good information is not enough – getting the data into the hands of consumers in a format that is useful, usable and used is a challenge.”
He said “any efforts to develop consumer information about postsecondary education must include information about subbaccalaureate credentials, such as associate’s degrees and certificates.” He told lawmakers “the United States must break its bachelor’s addiction. Empirically, the bachelor’s degree is a good investment. However, there is consistent evidence … that subbaccalaureate credentials can lead to earnings that exceed those of bachelor’s graduates and place students attaining those credentials squarely in the middle class.”
Schneider also told lawmakers that “in addition to battling our bachelor’s addiction, we need to battle our fixation on institution level measurement. We need to deliver usable consumer information at the program level” so students and parents have a better sense of the impact a major is likely to have on eventual earnings.
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity. For more information, visit www.air.org.