CAP en Español
Small CAP Banner

Idea of the Day: How to Improve the College Scorecard

  • print icon
  • SHARE:
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Share on Google+
  • Email icon
idea light bulb

The White House will soon unveil a final version of its “college scorecard”—an online tool giving college-bound students and their families a hype-free snapshot of reliable information about any U.S. campus: real costs, graduation rates, student debt statistics, and earning potential of graduates.

The college scorecard is a good idea and it has the potential to make college-bound students smarter consumers. The scorecard is part of a major effort by the White House and the U.S. Department of Education to understand and improve the college selection process. At a time when student loan debt has exceeded $1 trillion, fewer than 60 percent of college freshmen graduate within six years, and the wages of recent grads have declined by nearly 5 percent since 2007, it’s more important than ever that students make good decisions about where to go, what to study, and how to pay. But to help students make better decisions, the scorecard must be easy to understand and relevant to their decision-making processes.

Though policymakers are working diligently and conscientiously to design a scorecard that will help students and families, the college scorecard has not been subjected to systematic testing by actual students and parents. Unfortunately this is typical of many disclosures government agencies require in the hopes of improving consumer choice. (CAP has previously written about a similar problem with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent revamp of disclosures that money managers must provide to prospective clients.) Without consumer testing, disclosures risk being overlooked and misunderstood.

For more on this topic, please see:

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Elise Shulman (oceans)
202.796.9705 or

Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or


This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

For more from the same column, click here