State of the Union – College Scorecards

In tonight’s State of the Union Address, President Obama included discussion on improving education in high schools and also controlling student debt and rising college tuition.  “Through tax credits, grants, and better loans, we have made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years. But taxpayers cannot continue to subsidize the soaring cost of higher education. Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it’s our job to make sure they do. Tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act, so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid. And tomorrow, my Administration will release a new “College Scorecard” that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.”  It will be interesting to see what the scorecards look like and what kind of response we get from students, parents, and colleges and universities.

Full text for the State of the Union is linked here.

8 thoughts on “State of the Union – College Scorecards

  1. In my personal opinion, University are becoming a “Money Maker Factory”, too much for high education, professors are evaluated for the GRAT brought to the Institution and not for the quality of teaching.
    When anybody finishes high education, sometimes the school loan is almost impossible to pay back.

    • I think you’re right in some cases. I can’t generalize to all colleges and universities. When money is “the” priority, I think teaching takes a back seat. Tuition escalation has become a complex, vicious cycle and it’s going to be extremely hard to break. I do think analysis needs to be done on the return on investment (ROI) for undergraduate and graduate degrees. Maybe it’s already been done. The results would be interesting if we compared schools across a broad spectrum and really looked at what we get for the dollar spent. I hate to say this, but I’ve taken courses at a certain university where the cost was roughly $1200 per semester hour and the quality was horrible. That’s one of the reasons I came here – the quality of teaching appears to be a priority. Sadly, it is not in many places.

  2. It will be very interesting to see the results. However, I think “what you get out” is a direct reflection of “what you put in”. I was criticized by my highschool classmates for choosing to leave the confines of New England and arguably the area with the “best” colleges/universities to move to Wyoming for my undergraduate degree. I still remember a friend of mine saying “You are throwing your life away. Go to Bates/Bowdoin/Middlebury/etc and make something of yourself”. OUCH! My high schol guidance counselor even cautioned me against it. She finally relented when I agreed to apply to be a part of the Honors program. In the eyes of my former classmates/teachers (from a private Massachusetts Catholic school) a state school in some far off place was not “good enough”. However, now most of those people would probably place me as one of the most sucessful members of my graduating class. Even above those who went to “well-known” universities. I put in a lot and I got out a lot. Plain and simple!

    • I think everything is what you choose to make of it. I’ve had varied experiences with 3 grad schools and 18 years of private industry and the federal gov. Prestige isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You have to enjoy what you’re doing and where you are.

      • BTW – the most expensive and well known of the grad schools I’ve gone to was, by far, the most disappointing experience. I think you made very wise and very well informed decisions.

  3. This portion of the speech last night stood out to me also. It’s interesting that the blame for high tuition seems to be being placed on the schools themselves. While I suppose that is the “easy” thing for the federal government to do, it doesn’t really show the whole picture, particularly for public institutions. For many public colleges and universities, tuition is rising as government funding is falling, which seemingly must happen for the institutions to continue to operate. As an example, state funding for the University of New Hampshire was cut by 39.4% last year (Chronicle of Higher Education). When a college loses that kind of funding, what choice does it have than to charge students more? How can the president expect higher education to get cheaper when it costs a certain amount of money to hire and keep good professors, maintain campuses, etc. in face of falling state funding?

    • Just to elaborate a little more on my earlier response, I’ve spent a lot of time developing and implementing scorecards for the federal gov. I hope some critical thought goes into this process and they don’t simply default to measuring things that easy to get at (already available, easily quantified, and easy to report – that’s usually the default process). I also really hope that they include students in the scorecard development process and not just feds and faculty. We need to come up with a more meaningful way of identifying and measuring the “bang.”

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