A new college consumer report card or just another mandate?

by Grace

Part of me finds this proposed college consumer report card very appealing and part finds it to be just another government mandate that will end up providing minimal value at high cost.

Should each college be required to post–one-click from its homepage–externally audited consumer information for prospective students? The data might include: the percentage of freshmen that graduate in four years, the progress they make in reading and critical thinking, the employment rate and earnings for recent graduates by degree, and (as the Occupiers would approve) the actual four-year cost of school, including cash and loan financial aid, broken down by family income and assets.

On the other hand, prospective students and families are already buried in information about colleges. They have independently written college guides, and more statistics, facts, and opinions are a mere Google-search away. Is mandating a college report card just one more governmental intrusion that will, like privacy disclosure laws, create a mountain of paper and bureaucrats scrambling to fulfill the requirement while improving few students’ lives?

Ultimately, I vote no to another mandate like this.  All this information is available, although sometimes difficult to find.  I see an opportunity for an enterprising company to organize this type of information in a way that’s easier for families to use.

Do Colleges Need a Consumer’s Report Card?The Atlantic, 1/9/12

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One Comment to “A new college consumer report card or just another mandate?”

  1. Yeah, it’s hard to get. Some of it is obtained indirectly, such as from Payscale surveys.

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