NASFAA Submits Comments on White House College Scorecard

As part of his FY 2013 budget request, and a larger college affordability plan, President Obama proposed the creation of a College Scorecard to enable students and families to compare college costs before making a decision on postsecondary education.  NASFAA recently submitted comments on a draft Scorecard after the administration’s request for public comment.

In the comments, NASFAA thanked the administration for making clear and accurate consumer information a priority, but offered several areas of improvement that would make the Scorecard a more relevant, universal, and stronger tool.  Comments were provided in the following five areas related to the Scorecard:

  • Comprehensive Review of Consumer Disclosure: The College Scorecard taken alone provides a good discussion point about what information students need when making college decisions, but NASFAA encourages the administration to also consider and examine the litany of other consumer disclosures schools are required to provide to students and families throughout the admissions and financial aid processes.
  • Uniform Focus on Traditional Student: The Scorecard is primarily geared toward the traditional, dependent student, particularly with relation to the measurement of graduation rates.  NASFAA suggests that the administration allow institutions to provide additional information that will help context to be given to graduation rates.
  • Communication with Low-Income or First Generation Students: There are several places in the Scorecard that contain language that could be potentially difficult or confusing to first generation or low-income students. NASFAA encourages the administration to consider these audiences in their choice of terminology and graphs.
  • Emphasis on Loans: The Scorecard contains a strong focus on student loans and borrowing, but places little emphasis on grants and scholarships. While NASFAA agrees that consumer information on loans is very important, there should also be a section devoted to grants and scholarships. Related to loans, NASFAA also posed questions as to how successful repayment will be defined.
  • Definition of Earnings Potential: The Scorecard contains a section on earnings potential but is unclear how this will be defined.  Furthermore, it is unclear as to how the information will be collected—especially considering the difficulty in collecting data from recent graduates.  NASFAA asked the administration to further clarify its intent in this section.

NASFAA appreciates the opportunity to provide comment on this important issue and looks forward to working with the Obama Administration as it moves forward with this proposal.