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Where KU ranks on White House's new 'College Scorecard'


If you watched President Obama's State of the Union address last night, you may have heard him mention a new "College Scorecard" to help prospective students figure out where they'll get the most educational value.

Well, the Scorecard is up and running now on the White House website. If offers a database of colleges and universities around the country with four basic numbers on each: the average cost to attend, six-year graduation rate, the rate of student-loan defaults and the median amount borrowed by students in federal loans.

One category of information it does not have yet — which might be the most interesting — is job and wage information for graduates. But it suggests that info might come later.

I, of course, took a peek at KU's page. Each metric includes a graphic comparing it to the rest of the country. KU ranks on the low end of the "medium" range when it comes to average net costs; in the "high" range with its 60.7 percent graduation rate (though KU leaders want to bump that number up to around 70); and right about in the middle in the area of median borrowing. Its loan default rate, 4.3 percent, is well below the national average of 13.4 percent of federal student-loan borrowers who default within three years.

Below are the numbers for KU and a few other big state universities in the middle of the country:

KU — Average net cost: $14,768 per year. Graduation rate: 60.7 percent. Loan default rate: 4.3 percent. Median borrowing: $214.34 per month.

Kansas State University — Cost: $14,352. Grad rate: 56 percent. Default rate: 4.5 percent. Borrowing: $225.85/month.

Iowa State University — Cost: $13,554. Grad rate: 67.5 percent. Default rate: 4 percent. Borrowing: $250.30/month.

University of Iowa — Cost: $14,245. Grad rate: 70.8 percent. Default rate: 2.9 percent. Borrowing: $235.91/month.

University of Missouri-Columbia — Cost: $15,759. Grad rate: 68.9 percent. Default rate: 3.9 percent. Borrowing: $223.29/month.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln — Cost: $13,108. Grad rate: 66.7 percent. Default rate: 3.7 percent. Borrowing: $218.66/month.

At that point, I had to pull myself away. But poke around yourself for more.

You can fill out a scorecard for Heard on the Hill, if you like, and send it to merickson@ljworld.com. But please also include a KU news tip, if you've got one.


chootspa 2 years, 3 months ago

A fairer way to evaluate colleges than the US News beauty contest.

chootspa 2 years, 3 months ago

PS - WGU, which several posters pointed out during the recent KU MOOC editorial, has a cost of $15,521, a graduation rate of a measly 18.4%, and a default rate of 8%. Borrowers were able to get by with less, only $140 per month.

The University of Phoenix? Oooh, there's some unflattering data. Looks like maybe the free market doesn't make it all better.

chootspa 2 years, 3 months ago

The graduation rate is measured within 6 years, so the relative newness wouldn't be a factor, and a higher default rate with only 10-15 years of student payments is less than flattering. It's still way better than UoP, mind you. You're right that we may have some different numbers if we compared different student populations. I don't think WGU is a total dog. It's just not the panacea it's made out to be.

parrothead8 2 years, 3 months ago

You didn't watch, but you're sure you know just what it was about based on some things you read online today? Wow, you seem informed in a credible manner.

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