On May 21, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, announced improvements to the College Scorecard, an online tool created by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to enable students to make more informed decisions about higher education options. Originally launched in 2015, the College Scorecard was designed to provide clear, accessible and reliable national data on college costs, graduation rates, typical debt levels and post-college earnings in an easy-to-understand, graphical format geared toward prospective students and their families.
Recent Updates To The College Scorecard
Several additions to the College Scorecard were rolled out on May 21, including:
- Information on 2,100 non-degree granting institutions
By including institutions that award certificates in addition to the profiles on roughly 3,700 degree-granting intuitions, prospective students will have access to more comprehensive data on their post-secondary education options.
- Graduation rates for non-first-time and non-full-time students
Previously, the College Scorecard only included data on first-time, full-time students, which may not have accurately represented the student body of many institutions.
- Preliminary loan debt by field of study information
Prior to the May 21 update, the College Scorecard only provided loan debt data at the institution level, but the amount borrowed to attend a given school can vary widely based on the academic program. According to a DOE press release, the newly-released data is considered preliminary. Updated data calculated after institutions have time to adjust their historical enrollment data is scheduled for fall 2019.
Handling The Impact Of The College Scorecard Updates
Many institutions may experience a positive impact resulting from the recent College Scorecard updates. The 2,100 institutions recently added, for example, may benefit from the additional exposure on a national platform. For schools with favorable graduation rates for their transfer and non-traditional students, including data about non-first-time and non-full-time students should help boost the reported graduation rates, making the schools as a whole look more appealing to prospects. Similarly, segmenting loan debt data by field of study can help drive more interest for successful, lower-debt programs, which could help lower the school’s overall loan debt averages over time.
Some institutions, however, may experience challenges resulting from the recent College Scorecard changes. For institutions with numbers that appear less favorable as a result of the updates, top school administrators may want to increase their focus on long-term strategies to help boost graduation rates.
Schools can also work on showing their value to prospective students in ways that the numbers don’t. Promoting a vibrant school community and showcasing experiences and events that bring students together can be a way to highlight the intangible value of the “college life” experience. Schools can also maintain active social media presences and feature successful alumni as case studies that prospective and current students can emulate. Institutions can also publicize ways prospective students can reduce their debt, including scholarships, grants, government aid and free college programs.
DMS Education Can Help
Regardless of the potential impact of the College Scorecard updates to your institution, DMS Education can help. DMS Education is an industry leader in matching schools with students who enroll and graduate. Using an extensive portfolio of owned-and-operated, education-focused properties and a diversified, multi-channel media mix, DMS Education provides predictable, scalable, reliable education marketing to a long list of traditional and for-profit colleges, trade schools, community colleges, boot camps, continuing education providers, OPMs and agencies.
Contact DMS today to learn more about what DMS Education can do for you.