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August 2, 2014, 2:33 am

White House Web site evaluates colleges

President Barack Obama backed up the education pledges made during his State of the Union address, as he has facilitated the creation of the College Scorecard, which will provide families and prospective college students with the information required in order to make informed decisions about their post-secondary educational plans.

“Too often, students and their families don’t have the right tools to help them sort through the information they need to decide which college or university is right for them. The search can be overwhelming, and the information from different colleges can be hard to compare,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “That’s why our administration released a ‘College Scorecard’ that empowers families to make smart investments in higher education. As the president said [in his State of the Union Address], we want to help families get the most bang for their educational buck.”

The Scorecard is available online at www.whitehouse.gov/scorecard, and included several methods by which to gain valuable information. For example, someone visiting the Scorecard website can choose to enter the name of a college or university, and the site will provide all the background data on that institution. Site visitors can also view school data by state, degree/major or by career goals.

The scorecard really shines when comparing local and regional schools. By inputting Temple University into the scorecard, it shows that the North Philadelphia-based school has an annual tuition of $19,149, has a graduation rate of 67.6 percent, has a 5.5 percent loan default rate and the median borrowing amount is $235.91 per month. By comparison, the scorecard shows that Cheyney University’s annual tuition is $11,375, and that the school has a 24.4 percent graduation rate. Cheyney University, by the scorecard, has a loan default rate of 23.2 percent and a medium borrowing amount of $172.62 per month.

Using the scorecard’s findings as a barometer, both Cheyney University and Lincoln University of Pennsylvania share similar demographics — which could be viewed as a reflection of the two schools drawing heavily from the same student pool.

Lincoln University’s annual tuition is $11,695 and has a 40 percent graduation rate. Lincoln University’s loan default rate is 21.8 percent and its median borrowing amount is $335.91 per month.

The scorecard also shows that Drexel University has the highest tuition in the region - $34,660 – compared to the University of Pennsylvania — $20,592 — and La Salle University, which has an annual tuition of $23,418.

According to the DOE, the information on the scorecard is procured from a myriad of sources, including federal filings by educational institutions and data provided by private firms. Each scorecard will also contain five key pieces of aggregate data: costs, graduation rates, loan default rate, average amount borrowed and employment. The scorecard website will be updated periodically.

“The College Scorecard — as part of President Obama’s continued efforts to hold colleges accountable for cost, value and quality — highlights key indicators about the cost and value of institutions across the country to help students choose a school that is well-suited to meet their needs, priced affordably, and is consistent with their educational and career goals,” Duncan said. “The College Scorecard provides a snapshot about an institution’s cost and value to help families make smart decisions about where to enroll.”

 

Contact staff writer Damon C. Williams at (215) 893-5745 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .