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College Scorecard

This week, the Department of Education announced a new interactive College Scorecard styled along the lines of a Consumer Reports for colleges/universities that may help students and parents find the best bargain economically speaking in colleges and universities.” It gives users access to extensive federal data on the student-debt and attendance-cost data for more than 7,000 U.S. higher-ed institutions allowing them to compare institutions.” (1) The site https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/ allows students to compare tuition costs versus how much on the average a student in a particular field will earn after graduation. It also predicts how much debt a student might have at graduation.

Going to the site and entering a major, for example, will pull up information on schools offering that major. To watch a video of the weekly presidential address covering the College Scorecard, go to: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/09/12/weekly-address-new-college-scorecard

How will this help? While it might be a new tool to put in the toolbox of variables to consider when deciding schools for submission, it could also give inaccurate data and mislead students and parents. For instance, “the Scorecard only includes data of federal student-loan borrowers. All other students are excluded from the report.” (2) The scorecard also appears to use salary as the only evaluation tool of a college education. Decisions in the end are based on a number of factors including legacy, climate, sports, best programs, best professors, scholarships, and many more.

Caution: there will inevitably be a back lash against using the metrics involved in the scorecard and the peculiar results that are generated using it, just as the US. News and World Report College Rankings have come under fire for years. Read the Atlantic Monthly’s article for further analysis of this new system and learn about others.

  1. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/09/obamas-new-college-scorecard-flips-the-focus-of-rankings/405379/
  2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/j-randall-obrien/president-obamas-new-coll_b_8137234.html

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