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Obama announces release of college comparison tool

By Cynthia Marcinek
On February 21, 2013

Last Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced a new tool aimed to help parents and students compare college tuition, graduation rates, loan default rate and median browsing. College Scorecard, which is already up and running, will eventually include an employment feature as well according to the website.

The Scorecard allows people to look at and compare various university features across the country. After logging on, users can narrow their college search by looking at school occupations, degrees, majors, size, locations and campus setting.

The scorecard website found on the whitehouse.gov website said "The College Scorecard has been designed by the U.S. Department of Education to provide better information to students and parents about college affordability and value."

According to sophomore Amy Mirlisena, with websites like Miami University's own and others such as collegeprowler.com, scorecard seems like something that should have already been in place, and she doesn't think College Scorecard would be the first place she'd look for information on universities.

"I'd probably Google it first if I wanted information about colleges," Mirlisena said. "I don't think its necessary that [Obama] put this in place because the Internet already has this information. I don't really see how it's directly beneficial."

Sophomore Hannah Olenick said she thinks Scorecard has its benefits.

"Because it's coming from the White House, I think it will be more reliable than other sources," Olenick said. "I would definitely look at the scorecard and recommend it for other students to use when they're looking at grad schools or further education."

Scorecard has listed Miami in the highest tuition level at $22,100 per year. In addition, it lists Miami in the highest graduation rate level in the region at 81.5 percent. Miami also has a lower loan default rate at 8.2 percent, less than the national average of 13.4 percent.

According to the Scorecard website, it plans to release university employment information on the site in the future.

James Kiper, chair on Miami's 2020 Planning Committee, which sets goals and guidelines for the university's future said, the plan requires metrics in order to measure the success of the program. One such metric being considered is university graduation rates.

"We might set a goal of 85 percent, that's not a set number, but it will be some challenging goal," Kiper said. "It will then ripple down to each department."

The lower levels of the goals haven't been set and will probably not be set until the summer. While one of the goals is to have effective partnership and outreach, it's still in the next step. This is a place where the Scorecard could be effective with the 2020 plan.

However, when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of the 2020 plan, Scorecard lists information that the university already has, so the tool is more for public use.

"I think it is a good source for some of the high level data," Kiper said. "We already know most of the data, it comes from us, so we already know it. You could say we're getting it from them, we already had it, but you could say we're using that data in some of the goals."


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