“Know Before You Go” bill becomes law

Measure provides consumer-friendly data on college graduates’ earnings, employment rates

April 30, 2014

Bowdoin College basketball standout Megan Phelps and her coach came to testify in favor of Rep. Berry's "Know Before You Go" bill at the public hearing in February.
Bowdoin College basketball standout Megan Phelps and her coach came to testify in favor of Rep. Berry’s “Know Before You Go” bill at the public hearing in February.

AUGUSTA – A measure to better inform students’ higher education decisions is now law.

LD 1746, the “Know Before You Go” bill, became law Wednesday without the signature of Gov. Paul LePage. The law goes into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.

Sponsored by House Majority Leader Seth Berry of Bowdoinham, the law will provide easily searchable data on the Internet about employment and earnings outcomes for graduates of Maine colleges and universities. The aggregate information will clearly show how graduates fare by major and institution after they complete their degrees as well as later in life.

“We have this information already. It is time we shared it with our young people,” said Berry, House chair of the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future. “Because college is such a big investment, students need to know if they’ll have a job and earn enough to get by.”

The measure will also inform policymakers as they assess higher education needs and trends in the state’s job market.

Increasingly, states across the country are providing similar higher education outcomes data to the public. For example, the nonprofit CollegeMeasures.org has created websites for a number of states, listing graduates’ average incomes and employment rates.

The measure has the support of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Jobs for the Future, a national education and workforce development organization, the Legislature’s bipartisan Youth Caucus, the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System, Maine Maritime Academy and the Maine Independent Colleges Association.