Newly released College Scorecard is ‘not a game-changer’

by Grace

Most reviewers are underwhelmed by the Obama adminstration’s new College Scorecard intended to help families compare schools and learn ” where you can get the most bang for your educational buck”.

The scorecard is “not a game-changer as much as the administration would like to believe,” said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, a major association of colleges and universities.

What’s in the Scorecard?

Average Net Price: What an undergraduate student pays after grants and scholarships are subtracted from the institution’s listed cost of attendance.

Graduation Rate: Number of students who graduate within six years at four-year institutions and three years at two-year institutions.

Loan Default Rate: Percentage of students who default within three years of entering repayment.

Median Borrowing: The median amount borrowed by undergraduate students.

Employment: Information about postgraduate employment and salaries is self-reported by institutions. [not yet available]

The data is not recent and already available elsewhere.

But some of the data in the new scorecard is a few years old, and most of it has been available from other sources, notably the federal government’s own College Navigator site. Further, the information is presented as averages and medians that might have little relevance to individual families. The scorecard does connect to each institution’s net price calculator, which allows individualized cost estimates, but it does not provide side-by-side comparisons of multiple schools, as other government sites do.

A good starting point

Like many other resources for families deciding on higher education, the College Scorecard is a good starting point.  The most time-consuming part of the college search is typically in uncovering details about departments, teaching, career preparation, personalized costs, campus culture, and other aspects that are not easily packaged in scorecard fashion and are often inscrutable to the typical applicant.

Related:  New web tool shows salary data broken out by college and major (Cost of College)

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