By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – The U.S. Department of Education has released an interactive online College Scorecard as part of President Barack Obama’s efforts to hold colleges accountable for cost, value and quality.
The College Affordability and Transparency Center College Scorecard was released following President Obama’s State of the Union address earlier this week during which he highlighted the plight taxpayers’ face in subsidizing higher education costs and urging that colleges must work harder to keep costs manageable.
The scorecard is meant to provide a snapshot of an institution’s cost and value to help families make decisions during the college search and application process.
“We know students and families are often overwhelmed in the college search process, but they feel they lack the tools to sort through the information and decide which school is right for them,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a statement.
The scorecard for each institution includes costs, graduation rate, loan default rate, average amount borrowed and what type employment students find after graduation. The department still is working to gather employment information.
The information will be periodically updated. The U.S. Department of Education also plans to sometime this year publish information on potential graduate earnings.
Users can search the scorecard by school name, location, size, offered degree programs, the occupation they hope to enter, campus setting, and offered awards.
The scorecard is available for every degree-granting institution in the United States at whitehouse.gov/scorecard.
Much of the cost information presented is based on the 2010-2011 academic year and tuition cost is the average net price students pay after grants and scholarships. A school’s four-year graduation rate is based on students who entered an institution in fall 2005 and loan default rates are based on students who entered repayment in the fiscal year 2009 and who defaulted on a loan before Sept. 30, 2011. The national default rate reported is 13.4 percent.
Most Rhode Island schools, according to the report card, have a low default rate. Only Johnson and Wales University has a rate, at 13.5 percent, higher than the national average. Brown University and Providence College, at 1.5 percent and 1.6 percent respectively, have very low default rates.
Of the Rhode Island schools, Rhode Island School of Design has the highest yearly cost at $34,863 followed by Roger Williams University at $33,506 per year.
Rhode Island College has the lowest average tuition cost at $8,274 per year. Salve Regina has an average price tag of $28,852 while Brown University students pay an average of $22,743.
Brown University boasts the highest graduation rate at 95.2 percent followed by RISD at 86.9 percent. Rhode Island College has the lowest graduation rate 44.2 percent.
In terms of monthly loan paybacks, RISD students have the highest bill at an average of $294.17 followed by Johnson and Wales students at $287.02. Rhode Island College students see an average monthly bill of $149.60 and Brown University grads pay an average of $181.01.