Sunday, August 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Scorecard for colleges needs work, experts say

By
From page A1 | February 21, 2013 |

The steps that President Obama promised in his State of the Union address to control college costs and give consumers more information on the prices and values of individual colleges have drawn tepid responses from educational groups, who said the measures seemed generally positive but had many blanks to be filled in.

As Obama promised, the White House unveiled an interactive College Scorecard Web site last week that allows anyone to retrieve the net cost — not the full “sticker price” — of attending a particular college, along with data on student loan repayment and the loan default and graduation rates.

The new site follows other steps the administration has taken — including the introduction of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s online college cost-comparison tool, and the creation of a uniform “shopping sheet” of financial information, since adopted by many colleges, to enable families to make apples-to-apples comparisons that had been elusive.

But some of the data in the new scorecard is a few years old, and most of it has been available from other sources, notably the federal government’s own College Navigator site. Further, the information is presented as averages and medians that might have little relevance to individual families.

The scorecard does connect to each institution’s net price calculator, which allows individualized cost estimates, but it does not provide side-by-side comparisons of multiple schools, as other government sites do.

“This puts the key data together in a consumer-friendly way, which I think is important, because even motivated and informed consumers have a hard time finding and interpreting the data,” said Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access and Success, a nonprofit group that works to make it easier to get information about colleges.

But her group complained that the borrowing and default figures in the scorecard were misleading, and said it was “two steps forward, one step back.”

One example of the sometimes confusing nature of the website: the average net cost figure for UC Davis after grants and scholarships.

A dial indicates where the campus falls nationally — on the line between “low” and “medium” — with the figure $14,072, without explaining that figure is from 2010-11, the most current number that’s been released by the Department of Education.

Alongside it in a box, the site indicates that net cost to UCD students declined 4.6 percent. That’s an accurate figure, too — but for 2007 to 2009.

The scorecard is “not a game-changer as much as the administration would like to believe,” said Terry Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, a major association of colleges and universities.

A spokeswoman for the federal Department of Education said the scorecard would “help families easily compare schools on value and affordability,” but said the department could not yet elaborate on the plans.

One highly anticipated element of the scorecard would show how the recent graduates of each school fare in the job market and how much money they are making, fulfilling Obama’s promise to show “where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.”

But that tool does not exist yet — the scorecard simply says that the Department of Education is working on it — and experts say it probably would require a change in federal law to put it into effect. The 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act prohibits the government from keeping the kind of information that would be needed: tracking millions of people’s educational backgrounds.

Similar information is already available, though it is not as complete as what the federal government could produce by tapping into tax return data.

PayScale, a company that analyzes payroll data for millions of workers, publishes annual rankings of colleges based on graduates’ long-term earnings. (PayScale ranks UCD 97th out of 850 colleges.)

Another group, College Measures, is working with several states to develop a system for rating the economic success of recent graduates by matching information from the colleges in those states to income data collected by the unemployment insurance programs.

Walter Robinson, UCD’s director of undergraduate admissions, said the information on the scorecard “is the truth, but it’s not the gospel truth.”

“It gets you close, but I don’t think it gets you spot-on to each institution you might be interested in,” he said, but added that he didn’t think that was a major concern:

“When it comes to the five or 10 institutions you’re seriously considering, you’re going to go to the primary source. You’re going to transition over to our website. When you do that, you’ll see the student testimonials, the credentials of the faculty and who we are. When it comes time to get down in the weeds and apply, you’re going to arrange a campus visit. And once you get to the UC Davis campus, it sells itself.”

The UCD page notes that its:

* Six-year graduation rate is “high,” at 81.7 percent;

* Loan default rate for graduates is 3 percent — versus a national average of 13.4 percent; and

* Students’ median borrowing is “low,” with families typically borrowing $14,500 in federal loans for a student’s undergraduate years.

Online: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/higher-education/college-score-card

http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator

http://www.ucdavis.edu/admissions/index.html

— Richard Pérez-Peña of the New York Times wrote this report, to which Cory Golden of The Davis Enterprise contributed. Reach Golden at cgolden@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden

Comments

comments

Wire and staff reports

.

News

 
 
Davis audience hears from civil-rights hero

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Legislators wrap up with water, ethics, guns bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Bob Dunning: This new kid might have a future

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Five U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State fighters

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
EU threatens Russia with more sanctions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Robbery, pursuit in Central Davis lead to one arrest

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Rotary clubs offer Davis High students some life lessons

By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Yolo Federal to hold photo contest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Katehi will speak at Chamber’s community luncheon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Bean Feed supports for Yolo Democrats’ activities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Bauer garden marks one year

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Dinner will raise funds to help farmers in Burkina Faso

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Beamer Park featured at Stroll Through History

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Tuleyome Tales: Be safe on wilderness trails

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Small wineries suffer big losses in quake

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Grande site has been a convoluted saga

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

 
Say goodbye to summer with a ‘Final Blast’ at Explorit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Bay Bridge project’s rainy-day money is nearly gone

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A15 | Gallery

.

Forum

Already made herself at home

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Nate Beeler cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

Changing local election dates benefits Democrats

By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

 
Ad-free email? You can still find it at Davis Community Network

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Keep our green waste piles

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
How to make a good living

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
City panel working to tighten scrutiny of taxpayer dollars

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

Try round-robin storytelling at crafts fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
Marriage doesn’t mean we agree on everything

By Marion Franck | From Page: A14

This epidemic should scare us

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

 
.

Sports

Devils open with an impressive volleyball victory

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Stanford scores early, often in opener versus UCD

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

New coach, new tougher league for DHS football

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Coach likes what she sees from Devil field hockey squad

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD notebook: Coaches positive about FCS schools ‘playing up’

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Aggie harriers secure season-opening sweep

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: Cats win late to pull even with Aces

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Comings and Goings: Is fro-yo craze melting?

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
Sutter Davis Hospital honored again as a ‘best place to work’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13

Engage3 attracts investment for shopping app

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A20

 
California growers can use MBI’s new bioinsecticide

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20

Sudwerk, Davis Food Co-op join for ‘co-hop-eration’ brew

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20 | Gallery

 
Community pools its purchasing power to reduce the cost of solar

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20

.

Obituaries

Wanda P. Daley

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, August 31, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8