Home Tag "college scorecard"

Graduate School Loans: An Overview of Problems and Solutions

I am grateful to the Wall Street Journal education reporters for calling my attention to the fact that median debt and median earnings data are available for graduate programs at many schools. The articles that they published, “Financially Hobbled for Life: The Elite Master’s Degrees that Don’t Pay Off” and “Is a Graduate Degree Worth the Debt?,” triggered my reviews of their reporting tool and the College Scorecard’s updated dataset used for their data reporting.

More Analysis of Law School Debt and Earnings Data

After reviewing and writing about the data available for law school graduates in the Wall Street Journal tool, I planned to review the data for medical school graduates and write a similar report. While reviewing the medical school data, I paused when I reached the colleges whose names begin with the letter “D.” At that point, I realized that one of my alma maters, Duke University, was not listed.

Department of Education Announces Latest Additions to College Scorecard Data

Yesterday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced additions to the data available to consumers and researchers using the College Scorecard. Some of the changes announced include the average earnings two years after graduation based on field of study, the amount of Parent PLUS loans borrowed by parents of students to pay for their child to attend an institution, and the amount of loans borrowed at previous institutions attended for students who transfer.

Which College Graduates Make the Most?

On November 20, 2019, the Department of Education released its long-awaited update to the College Scorecard, revealing median debt, earnings and other data for graduates of specific programs of the represented schools. The Wall Street Journal was given an exclusive look at the data before publication, and provides some comparisons of the data among schools and a handy tool for sorting the dataset by school, degree level and degree type to show the median debt for graduates and median income level the first year after graduating. 

Reviewing the Methodology Behind New ROI Rankings for 4,500 Colleges

 

I am no fan of the Department of Education’s College Scorecard, primarily because it is incomplete and may be misleading for some metrics. Much of the data is derived from students using Federal Student Aid (FSA) only and some of it is from those who are first-time, full-time students using FSA loans. At APUS, most of our students are part-time, working adults not using FSA to fund their education. I first wrote about the Scorecard in 2016 and reported about others like me who criticized its incomplete data.

Despite the flaws of the Scorecard, I understand why Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce recently attempted to create a return on investment (ROI) for all colleges using this data. First, it’s the only published source that uses IRS data to match earnings with students who have attended those specific institutions and who received FSA. With access to earnings, institutional costs and debt incurred, the researchers can calculate a rudimentary ROI.

A First Try at ROI: Ranking 4,500 Colleges

Anthony Carnevale, Ban Cheah, and Martin Van Der Werf of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce issued a report ranking the ROI of all 4,500 colleges and universities listed in the College Scorecard.

Included among the researchers’ notable findings:

  • Community college and many certificate programs have the highest ROI in the short term (10 years).
  • Colleges that primarily award bachelor’s degrees have the highest ROI in the long term (40 years).
  • Public colleges have higher ROI than private colleges in the short term.
  • Degrees from private nonprofit colleges generally have a higher ROI in the long term than public universities.

College Scorecard Does Not Fairly Represent All Institutions

On September 12, 2015, the White House released its long-awaited College Scorecard and, much like other ranking and comparison tools available for use by students, the Scorecard came up short in representing all institutions fairly. While it may have been created with the latest mobile technology to allow for easier access, its data do not accurately portray many institutions, including those serving non-traditional students or where most students do not use federal student aid (FSA) to cover the cost of tuition.