How to Use Obama's College Scorecard
"President Obama wasted no time fulfilling one of the promises made in last night's State of the Union address, releasing the administration's new College Scorecard earlier today," U.S. News reports. "The interactive tool, designed to help parents and prospective students determine which college will give them "the most bang for their education buck," shows consumers how a school stacks up in terms of cost, graduation rates, student loan default rates, and median borrowing. One of several college-choice websites offered via the Department of Education's College Affordability and Transparency Center—which houses the government's College Navigator and Net Price Calculator Center—the scorecard should be used in tandem with other resources, says Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). "[It] may be a starting point, but certainly shouldn't be the end point," Draeger says. "You can go in; you can get some very basic information, recognizing that the data being used to populate the scorecard is federal data, which isn't comprehensive." Noticeably absent from that data: employment rates and average earnings for graduates, as noted by Amy Laitinen, a former education policy advisor at the Department of Education and White House. The mere inclusion of an employment section—which the administration hopes to update with data in the future—is a step in the right direction, notes Rachel Fishman, a policy analyst with the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank."
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