Changes to the College Scorecard: Encouraging Greater Transparency

As part of a research series on reforming education and workforce training, American Action Forum experts Isabel Soto and Tom Lee considered “Options for Innovation and Reform in Higher Education.” In the study, they highlight the lack of specific and comprehensive outcome information from different universities. They argue that this lack of information makes it nearly impossible for prospective college students to do an apples-to-apples comparison of college value.

On November 20, 2019, the Department of Education took a big step toward addressing this problem by revamping its College Scorecard system, an online tool for students to search data about different higher-education institutions.

Previously, the Scorecard only contained outcome data at an institutional level—which was largely useless considering the range of programs at almost all institutions. The new Scorecard, however, allows students to compare tuition, as well as post-graduation average student debt and starting salaries by specific programs and majors at different universities. In addition, the Scorecard now has outcome data on short-term training, apprenticeships, and certificate programs—valuable information that will help prospective students decide if a university degree is the right choice.

Please see AAF’s full research series for more information about this and other opportunities for education-related reform.