White House Scorecard

The Obama administration is proposing a new addition to the College Affordability and Transparency Center – The White House College Scorecard.
According to the Scorecard website, the goal of the instrument is to make it easier for potential students and their families "to identify and choose high quality, affordable colleges that provide good value” based on five dimensions of data: costs, graduation rates, student loan repayment, student loan debt, and earnings potential.

A recent survey of AIR members indicated that although 40 percent of respondents had not heard of the Scorecard, it is becoming a discussion on campus.

Let's start our own conversation here:

Considering the five dimensions of data being gathered, what is your reaction to these as consumer information?

What do you like, or not like, about this strategy?

What is the potential impact of this instrument on IR within your campus or organization?

Join the conversation below and tell us what you think.  (To share formal reactions with the Department of Education as well, visit The White House College Scorecard website.)




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Total Comments: 6
Bill posted on 3/30/2012 1:32 PM
So, we have the NCES College Navigator site, umpteen college guidebooks, accrediting agency information, VSA, UCANN, numerous state consumer information and transparency initiatives, and now this. What value is added by this effort? MOre work for IR? I'd like to think more job security and justification for additional IR staff, but I know better.

Thanks so much, AIR, for giving us this venue.

Bill Knight
Gary posted on 3/30/2012 1:54 PM
Education consumers are unlikely to realize that this one-size-fits-all approach barely acknowledges that your mileage may vary. What do loan repayment rates of former students predict about my unique and potential ability to repay? And so much more contributes to a debt load (e.g., additional costs from repeating a failed course, switching majors, addition course and program fees, etc.) that a five-point scorecard probably does a disservice. When the scorecard's deficiencies are recognized, the types and volume of data required are sure to expand, yet the burden of collecting post-graduation employment data of any quality or accuracy already is difficult. At best, the new net price indicators give a gross estimate of costs. A debt scorecard is likely to be even less realistic.

Superficial approaches such as this lack the context and detail needed to fairly judge the value of a particular educational investment. Transparency may be reduced instead of expanded. They are analogous to the Energy-save labels on appliances -- nice to see, but how much do they influence my decisions?
Patrick posted on 3/30/2012 6:03 PM
The above sample applies to four-year institutions only. I'd like to know whether efforts are under way to create a meaningful equivalent for two-year institutions. The "copy four-year/paste two-year" approach has not generated too much value in the past.

Patrick Rossol-Allison
James posted on 4/2/2012 8:15 AM
This is more work pushed on IR by bureaucrats who have to justify their jobs by creating more work for IR Departments. If anyone thinks this report will only contain the five parts listed above, think again. Does anyone else remember the first year of IPEDS? That's the perfect example of a tiny seed turning into a redwood.
Sarah posted on 4/3/2012 9:51 AM
Following up on Patrick's comments, hybrid colleges offering one, two, and four year degrees face difficulties with the reporting structure for graduation rates. Institutions, like my own, that offer a ladder curriculum are burned when a student initially enrolls in an associates degree program and graduate with a bachelor's degree. Those students are counted as a "failure" for our school, because they failed to complete their degree within 150% time. This focus on indicators created for four year institutions continues to provide an inaccurate picture of schools that do not fit into this model.
Indira posted on 4/16/2012 6:20 PM
Employment should not be the only focus of what students do after graduation. Instead of this awful instrumentalist approach to what a college degree means, how about reframing the question and ask what graduates do after completion--work, graduate school etc..

Indira Govindan