Students, or anyone who has been a student, have a data problem, and it’s one they may not even know exists. The massive data set of student transcript information in the United States is largely inaccessible to the individuals it is designed to benefit.
While one would assume students have knowledge of by whom, when, and how their transcript and other academic data are being used, this is not always the case. One would think students would have unencumbered access to their transcript data, but today’s system makes it difficult to obtain.
Transcript and other academic data are accumulated in centralized databases. These data are essentially being held hostage, with a distinct lack of transparency and access and potential inaccurate information. The current system is broken and flawed. Now more than ever, we need a progressive model that democratizes access to academic transcript data for the benefit of students, recent grads, and businesses alike.
One key question I want to address is exactly why this lack of transparency, access, and accuracy is causing a problem. Let’s talk numbers. Currently, the organizations involved in the student loan system maintain and control 97% of all data for students who are enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities.
These data include everything from where students are or were enrolled to what their degree(s) is to their GPA. In total, these students number close to 17 million undergrads nationwide in a given year. Given that the database these transcript data are stored in is a decade old, there is a massive trove of this academic information stored out of sight.
Accuracy and Transparency Issues
Not only do these central organizations make accessing academic transcript data difficult, but the reports they issue for students are often error-prone. In the student loan case, these errors can cost students thousands of dollars, as the reports are tied to borrower interest calculations.
Essentially, the next wave of young consumers in our economy are being underserved by a system that lacks transparency, accountability, and accuracy.
The benefits of enabling access to academic data are vast. On the consumer side, fixing this problem will empower students, allowing them to wield the very data they create for their own well-being.
On the innovation front, businesses will be able to unlock and create a wealth of resources for student and commercial use. For example, alternative data metrics can be used for determining credit measures, or recruiters can use these data to vet a candidate’s skill set, resulting in a more efficient hiring process.
The opportunities to revolutionize this space are endless. This has been proven in other industries such as financial services through services provided by Plaid and other application programming interface (API) technologies.
In today’s economy, data drive everything. Modern businesses have focused on sifting through the huge trove of consumer data today’s technology provides to make decisions. For many Millennials and Gen Zs, academic data generated after 4 years at a university represent 20%–25% of their lives.
That percentage, spread over 10 years of past students, 17 million currently enrolled undergraduates, and graduate students, creates an enormous data set that is essentially inaccessible, potentially inaccurate given the lack of student review, and used without consent by the person who generated it in the first place. The end result is also stifling the businesses attempting to provide new products and services to these young consumers.
We need to ensure we are using these data to expand opportunities for young adults, which academic data can do, but they must be used the right way. Student transcript data need democratized access that empowers the consumers they affect, accuracy in the way they are stored, and transparency from the organizations holding control over the keys.
|Elan Amir brings a unique combination of management, strategy, and technology expertise, leading organizations from start-up to scale. Before joining MeasureOne, Amir served as Chief Product and Technology Officer at SpringboardAuto.com, a software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based auto-finance company serving consumers and financial institutions, as well as at Prosper Marketplace, a leading marketplace lending company.
Amir had also served 9 years as CEO of Bivio Networks, a cybersecurity solutions provider. He received his PhD and MS in Computer Science and a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley. Attached is a high res headshot for your potential use.