College Scorecard Developed by President Obama's Administration Shows Which Schools Offer Most Bang for Educational Buck

College Scorecard GraphicIt may not be a household term yet, but President Obama’s mention of the College Scorecard in his Feb. 12, 2013 State of the Union Address was top news on The White House Blog the following morning. The College Scorecard was developed by Obama’s administration as a tool to help families compare schools and determine  “where you can get the most bang for your educational buck,” the President said.

The interactive College Scorecard shows five key pieces of data about a college: costs, graduation rate, loan default rate, average amount borrowed, and employment––information about the cost and value of institutions that Obama hopes will help students choose a school well-suited to meet their needs, priced affordably, and consistent with their educational and career goals.

“We know students and families are often overwhelmed in the college-search process—but feel they lack the tools to sort through the information and decide which school is right for them," the U.S. secretary of education, Arne Duncan, said in a written statement.

The Scorecard data will be updated periodically.

Claremont McKenna College’s Scorecard is available online.

How CMC rated in each of the categories:

Costs: The average net price for undergraduate students (after factoring in grants and financial aid that isn’t paid back by families) is $23,064 annually, which falls in the “High” range on an accompanying Scorecard graphic

Graduation Rate: CMC’s 91.1 percent graduation rate (qualified as full-time students earning bachelor’s degrees within six years) is ranked “High.”

Loan Default Rate: The College’s rating shows that 0 percent of borrowers defaulted on Federal student loans within three years of entering repayment; the national loan default rate average is 13.4 percent.

Median Borrowing: CMC families typically borrow $15,500 in Federal loans for a student’s undergraduate study. The Federal loan payment over 10 years is about $178.37 a month, putting CMC between the “Low to Medium” range.

Employment: This information is not yet available on the College Scorecard. (The Department of Education plans to update its site within the year, with information about average earnings of former undergraduate students.)

A Feb. 13 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Mark S. Schneider calls the Scorecard “difficult to understand and use.” Schneider is vice president of the American Institutes for Research and president of College Measures, an AIR offshoot that has developed its own online college-data tool. "If the audience for this is a 17-year-old kid and his family, this does not tell me enough,"

Read the full CHE article.