- Two Education Department officials told a room of journalists last month that the College Scorecard, a federal online database of two- and four-year colleges designed to help students make informed college choices, will get a refresh in response to criticism that it doesn't offer information relevant to low-income students, though they didn't say when, according to The Hechinger Report.
- The Scorecard will add information on graduate and professional degrees, as well as add information on graduate wages and debt at the program-level. Officials acknowledged the Scorecard prioritizes highly selective colleges and does not offer easy comparison of programs within an institution.
- The Scorecard has been criticized for eliminating information on the national median for data such as graduation and repayment rates and net price, Inside Higher Ed reported, quoting a department spokeswoman who said it is more accurate to compare like institutions and programs than a national average that doesn't distinguish by program or selectivity.
Transparency in graduation outcomes and student debt is becoming more important as community colleges and four-year institutions are looking for strategies to attract more students to their campuses. The updated College Scorecard database will help students avoid falling prey to institutions that haven't been able to deliver for their students, in particular for-profits whose false marketing and questionable student loan practices triggered stronger regulations from the Obama administration.
The Center for Responsible Lending released a focus group study of 75 individuals who attended for-profit colleges during the last 10 years in Florida. The purpose of the research was to understand the reasons that led them to enroll in their respective institutions, along with their experiences with finding employment and the process of taking out and repaying loans.
Students in the focus group were left with a median debt of $22,000, regardless of their completion status. Those students who identified as female, middle-aged and African-American were left with even higher levels of debt. The students said they were drawn to the institutions through aggressive marketing, high-pressure recruitment, easy enrollment, flexible class scheduling and minimal entrance requirements.
More than 100 for-profit and career colleges closed between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years, according to the U.S. Department of Education. For-profits awarded 29.2% fewer credentials from the 2012-13 to 2016-17 academic years, falling from 518,956 to 367,529.