President Obama followed up on his State of the Union promise for a “college scorecard,” creating a new universal system to rank the educational value of the nation’s colleges and universities.
The interactive College Scorecard, first introduced in the president’s 2012 State of the Union speech, is now accessible on the White House website and allows parents and students to view a college’s cost, graduation rate, loan default rate, median borrowing, and employment. The site also allows students to search colleges based on individual needs, such as location, campus setting, and degree and major programs.
The goal of the scorecard, Obama said, is to provide accountability and transparency, and to help families determine “where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.”
In a statement released by the Department of Education Wednesday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the scorecard was an empowering tool for families. “Too often, students and their families don’t have the right tools to help them sort through the information they need to decide which college or university is right for them. The search can be overwhelming, and the information from different colleges can be hard to compare,” he said.
College affordability has long been an item on the president’s and Duncan’s agenda. In a speech at the University of Michigan last January, the president called out colleges that continually raised costs each year as a response to states that consistently cut higher education funding. “You can’t just assume you can jack up tuition every year,” he said.
Along with introducing the College Scorecard, Obama also urged Congress to change the Higher Education Act “so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid.” The Higher Education Act is set to expire at the end of this year.