Yesterday, the Obama administration released a college scorecard database system , that will help future students and their parents make financial decisions about which college to attend. NPR called it a “torrent of data”. http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/09/12/439742485/president-obamas-new-college-scorecard-is-a-torrent-of-data
It will also enable researchers to better understand the impact of the higher education processes on student success during and after college. Here is a detailed summary of the Scorecard, published by Inside Higher Education.
This article published in the New York Times today shows that there are gaps in earnings across colleges. It is a worthwhile article to read.
I know of two main aspects of the Scorecard. The first is a very user-friendly website to view one college, or a group of colleges , such as all colleges for a particular state. For example, one can select only public or private colleges, or 4-year colleges vs. 2-year community colleges. The Scorecard webpage includes easy viewing of graphics of Average annual cost, 6-year graduation rate, and Median salary of students who received federal financial aid, 10 years after entering college. In addition, clicking on “View More Details” for each college gives much more detail including net annual cost of college by family income levels, ACT/SAT scores, first-year retention, average debt after college and percent of students paying down their loans within 3 years of graduation.
As an example, here is a link to the 4 –year public colleges and universities in Michigan, sorted by graduation rates. I hope my Michigan colleagues enjoy seeing this set of graphs. (This can be displayed for any state. )
The graphs paint a picture of an excellent return in alumni income given the average cost of college in Michigan. The average cost of college per student for Michigan’s public colleges is less than the national average for all but one college, while all the public colleges show a median income 10 years after students started above the national average (for those students who received federal financial aid).
However, the graduation rates need much improvement with eight of the public colleges showing a 6-year graduation rate less than 50%. Note that most of these colleges have strong first year retention percentages, which is a good indication that the graduation rates can be improved with more attention to retention and upperclass student success processes.
The second aspect of the College Scorecard is that several databases are accessible. They are available at the College Scorecard Data website
Look for future blogs on this Scorecard after I have had a chance to look at it in more detail. Very Exciting!
Cindy Veenstra, PhD, ASQ Fellow