White House Unveils New “College Score Card” To Help Students Select Schools

With student loan debt now well past the $1.2 trillion mark — due in no small part to students that paid top-shelf tuition prices but ended up with bottom-shelf educations and job prospects — there’s a need to provide American students and their families with all the relevant information they need when it comes to picking the right school for their goals and their wallets.

In his weekly address to the nation this morning, President Obama announced the creation of a new “College Score Card” that his administration believes will help students get a better understanding of what they’re committing to before they buy.

According to the president, the score card will provide information, including how much money a school’s graduates earn. After all, surveys have shown that the most expensive and prestigious colleges don’t always lead to the highest-paying careers.

Similarly, the card will show the debt burden of a school’s graduates, and how many of those grads are able to pay down that debt.

The score card is a project in its early stages. The president says it will be improved upon and tweaked in the months to come as the administration gets feedback from students, parents, school counselors, and colleges.

Why offer these score cards when there are already seemingly countless annual reviews and rankings of schools? Many of those ratings treat the issue of cost and return on investment as a secondary issue to things like campus life, famous faculty and alumni, and athletics.

“The status quo serves some colleges and the companies that rank them just fine,” says the president. “But it doesn’t serve our students well – and that doesn’t serve any of us well. There are colleges dedicated to helping students of all backgrounds learn without saddling them with debt. We should hold everybody to that standard. Our economic future depends on it.”

We have yet to review the score card to see how its information stacks up against already available data in terms of accuracy and clarity, but we intend to keep our eye on the program as the school year progresses toward college application season.