The White House has released a “college scorecard” database. The “scorecard” shares median annual costs, campus census, graduation rates, default rates, and median federal debt for accredited institutions across the country. Comparing prices and graduation rates at 20 well known universities reveals some interesting statistics. Timing of the release coincides with President Barack Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address.
Among the most expensive institutions are the “for-profit, online” colleges. Schools like Strayer University, DeVry University, and Walden University all have median annual tuitions well north of $20,000. Graduation rates at these and similar schools are 30 percent or below well below. Median default rates on federally insured student loans are very much above the national median. Several are above 20 percent.
Quality, traditional, non-profit universities like Harvard, Yale, University of California, Virginia Tech, and the University of Iowa have median annual tuitions in the middle to upper teens and graduation rates of 70 to 98 percent. Default rates are much less than 5 percent.
Median federal debt owed at graduation at ten prestigious, randomly selected universities range from $7,000 to 21,000. The median federal debt obligations for the on-line schools are similar to a little higher.
The President has asked “Congress to change the Higher Education Act so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid.” On Wednesday, the administration released a “new “College Scorecard” that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria -- where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.”
The new college score card can be accessed through the White House website. http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/higher-education/college-score-card.
In addition to reviewing each college for median fees, census, median debt, graduation rate, and default rates, the site facilitates college searches by degree, major, geography, and areas of specialization.
Many of the schools that register the best outcomes and most moderate costs are among the most difficult in which to gain entry. This makes one’s high school performance much more important than it has been in years past. The new federal database should make student selection of a college a bit easier.