White House’s ‘College Scorecard’ Is New Comparison Tool

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President Obama has announced a new tool designed to help families make informed decisions about higher education.

The White House has announced a new tool as part of an effort to help students, parents and advisers make more informed decisions about college.

President Barack Obama described the purpose of the tool, called the College Scorecard, during his weekly address Saturday:

“As college costs and student debt keep rising, the choices that Americans make when searching for and selecting a college have never been more important. That’s why everyone should be able to find clear, reliable, open data on college affordability and value — like whether they’re likely to graduate, find good jobs and pay off their loans.

“Right now, however, many existing college rankings reward schools for spending more money and rejecting more students — at a time when America needs our colleges to focus on affordability and supporting all students who enroll. That doesn’t make sense, and it has to change.”

The Scorecard was designed with input from students, families, counselors and colleges themselves, Obama said. The tool will also be improved upon in the weeks and months ahead as more feedback comes in from such groups.

On a conference call with reporters Friday, officials emphasized that while the Scorecard allows users to compare schools, it is not a ranking, CNN Money reports:

Some rankings “pretend there’s a big distinction between number 36 and 37,” said Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell.

“They’re not useful for students trying to pick a college,” he said.

But officials did name some “high-performing” colleges on the call.

Schools that provide an affordable education that leads to good-paying jobs include:

  • Barnard College, New York
  • James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Cabarrus College of Health Science, Concord, North Carolina
  • Colorado Northwestern Community Colleges, Rangely, Colorado

Schools cited for students who graduate on time, get good jobs and pay off loans quickly include:

  • Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, California
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • Coleman University, San Diego
  • Bismarck State College, Bismarck, North Dakota

Schools called affordable for low-income students include:

  • State University of New York, Albany
  • University of California, Irvine
  • Lake Area Technical Institute, Watertown, South Dakota
  • Mount Aloysius College, Cresson, Pennsylvania

Do you think a tool like the White House’s College Scorecard could help make a dent in the country’s mounting student debt load? Share your thoughts with us below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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