Obama’s College Scorecard Puzzle

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

Wondering which colleges and universities offer degrees that give a bang-for-their-buck? That’s the idea behind the Obama administration’s college scorecard program, released by the Department of Education earlier in the school year. It was supposed to rate all colleges and universities that qualified due to certain criteria, yet there was one glaring omission: Certain higher education institutions did not make the cut. Also, there were no actual ratings in the scorecard.

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Why the omission? The omitted universities accuse the Obama administration of omitting them from the scorecard because they do not accept federal funding and they are either religious (i.e. Christian) or more conservative in culture and ideology.

Now, let’s take a balanced approach to this controversy. Why were these schools excluded? How were the scorecards rated?

The Department of Education e-mailed the press a statement and said that Grove City College, Hillsdale College, and Christendom College were a few universities who did not adhere to Title IV standards (i.e. federal funding for student financial aid). “Institutions that do not participate in Title IV federal financial aid are not included on the site because they are not required to send us data,” Department spokeswoman Denise Horn added. “The Department is listening closely to concerns from users and other stakeholders and will work to address those concerns in future updates to the tool.” However, some other notable Christian schools, such as Liberty University, were on the list. Based on Title IV’s requirements, schools that accept federal student aid, which data ranges from direct student aid to Pell grants, must report figures back to the Department of Education.

Looking at the Department of Education’s scorecard, it offers sections of schools with higher graduation rates, high salary earnings after graduation, as well as other general metrics. But, it does not offer a grade or rating, which is a large problem. It begs the question, why is the government getting into college scorecards if no ratings are compiled, when U.S. News and World Report and other news media have their own college ratings?