New College Scorecard Data Reflects Recent Graduation, Repayment Rates

By Brittany Hackett, Communications Staff

The Department of Education (ED) on Wednesday updated the College Scorecard, posting new information about 2014-15 graduation rates, debt amounts and repayment rates, and earnings information from the 2013 tax year.

The updated data is part of ED’s first annual data refresh and includes more than 1,700 data points for more than 7,000 higher education institutions. ED also released a College Scorecard “Change Log,” which documents changes that have been made to the tool through an interactive timeline that describes each change.

The new data show “significant” differences in the costs and benefits of certain institutions or institution type, as well as differences in earnings between degree types and institutions types. For example, more than four out of five students who attend the top 10 percent of four-year colleges by completion rates graduate within six years. In comparison, fewer than 25 percent of students who attend the bottom 10 percent of four-year colleges graduate within the same time period.

The data also show that borrowers who entered repayment during the recent recession were less likely to be moving towards successful loan repayment, no matter what type of institution they attended. However, borrowers who attended a for-profit institution or other two-year institution struggled more than others, with less than half of borrowers at for-profit colleges showing progress within three years of entering loan repayment. For comparison, 80 percent of borrowers from public and private four-year institutions are showing repayment progress within three years. Not surprisingly, borrowers who left school without completing their education also are struggling with repayment, with only 56 percent showing success in paying down their loans.

ED on Wednesday also highlighted future changes to the Scorecard that will make it “more accurate, relevant, and timely for students and families,” according to an ED fact sheet. One of the planned changes for next year is publishing more comprehensive completion rates, including those for part-time students, returning or transfer-in students, and certain sub-groups of students like Pell Grant recipients. ED will also begin publishing program-level and labor-market outcomes data, which will be gathered through the gainful employment rules.

And finally, ED is considering additional cautionary indicators it can provide to make students and families aware of known institutional issues prior to enrollment. Currently, the Scorecard provides a caution flag for institutions under Heightened Cash Monitoring 2 to warn families of financial or federal compliance issues.


Publication Date: 9/16/2016

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