Fixing the College Scorecard

I haven’t blogged for a while. Long story.

Bob and I wrote a story for the Chronicle of Higher Education highlighting the fundamental flaws  in the new College Scorecard that was released with much fanfare by the administration.

Here is the article: A Simple Fix for the Broken College Scorecard

Our financial aid system is very complex, as is the process a family goes through to identify and select a good university  that matches their budget and the best needs of the student.

We understand the desire to make information easier and more straightforward, but we are not fans of oversimplified accountability metrics and shopping guides. The article lays out the particular deficiencies in the new Scorecard. It relies on single numbers, like average net price and median debt, to convey real information to families. But virtually no family is the median. A single number for net price is systematically wrong for just about everyone. In addition, for poorer students the scary average net price can cause them to shy away from “pricey” private programs that would actively welcome such students, and which are actually much cheaper for low income families than local state universities.

In addition, the new statistics can be gamed by universities in socially unproductive ways. Schools can reduce their “average net price” by shying away from middle income students. The Scorecard actually rewards schools for hollowing out the middle class.