Tags: Conservative | Groups | Blast | DOE | Student | Database

Conservative Groups Blast DOE Student Database

Sunday, 15 May 2005 12:00 AM

"It is the perfect vehicle for the Federal Government to keep closer and closer tabs on students while at the same time lessening their privacy."

Under the plan, first discussed last fall, the department would maintain files on virtually every college and university student in the country – 15 million students from 6,000 schools.

The database would include a student's name, Social Security number and date of birth, plus information on majors, financial aid, courses taken and date of degree completion.

Federal officials contend that the database would improve tracking of graduation rates and help measure the quality of higher education. But critics say it would be an invasion of privacy and are concerned about identity theft.

"I question the need and appropriateness of even having a Department of Education, let alone giving it more authority and power in terms of keeping track of American citizens engaged in formal education," said Michael D. Ostrolenk, Education Policy Director of both EdWatch, an education watchdog group, and Eagle Forum, a pro-family movement.

"The federal government has too many databases full of very private information on Americans as it is, and does not need to create more." Database backers say that today's mobile students – they transfer from school to school more frequently – make it difficult to track students throughout their academic careers.

But Rhonda Norsetter, director of federal relations for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, declared: "The privacy issues such a database would raise are certainly a concern."

And Jasmine Harris, legislative director of the million-member U.S. Student Association, added: "Students are definitely aware of the government's involvement in personal lives that has become more and more apparent since 9-11."

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"It is the perfect vehicle for the Federal Government to keep closer and closer tabs on students while at the same time lessening their privacy." Under the plan, first discussed last fall, the department would maintain files on virtually every college and university...
Conservative,Groups,Blast,DOE,Student,Database
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2005-00-15
Sunday, 15 May 2005 12:00 AM
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