Grading universities

Thomas Hellman News Contributor

The Obama administration announces new College Scorecard to track progress

College instructors and professors may soon be feeling the kind of test anxiety they inflict upon their students.

The Obama Administration announced the release of the College Scorecard on Sept. 14. It provides comparative data of 7,000 schools across the country. Included in the card is average annual cost, graduation rate, and salary after graduation. The scorecard also provides statistics on debt and federal loan repayment, flags schools that have funding and/or federal compliance issues and who are on heightened cash monitoring. The scorecard can be found at collegescorecard.ed.gov with other

cautionaries to come.

“One of the things you have to understand is the Obama Administration’s motivation for doing this,” said Michael O’Malley, senior instructor at the College of Education. “One of the real problems is the for-profit schools. Consider Corinthian College, which is now

out of business.” 

O’Malley references the book “Weapons of Destruction” by Cathy O’Neil, which details the troubles for-profit colleges have created for the country. Such problems cited are the tremendous debt Corinthian College students accrued that will never be repaid, and Phoenix University’s lopsided spending on marketing compared to instruction. 

O’Neil also wrote that the diplomas from these for-profit schools are often about as influential as a high school diploma, and that these schools specifically target the poor and veterans. According to O’Malley for-profit schools are what the Obama Administration

is concerned with.

“The Obama Administration is saying we’re paying an enormous amount on student loans, and we have for-profit schools targeting poor people and veterans,” O’Malley said. “What’s motivating this is the for-profit shenanigans; they’re the ones causing all the problems.”

O’Malley began teaching at the high school level in 1989, and came to OSU in 2001. He experienced the implementation of the “No Child Left Behind” Act, and feels that the college scorecard will have a similar impact

on higher education. 

“What will happen is that we will teach the college scorecard,” O’Malley said. “To move up on this scorecard, we’re going to do what they say. We’re going to conform to the proxies and rubrics they convey. Academic freedom will be at risk.”

However, O’Malley does think the scorecard will be  positive for students. O’Malley stated that the cost of higher education rose by more than 500 percent between 1985 and 2013. Presumably, the College Scorecard will help bring that cost back down.

“You know who it’ll help? It’ll help students who are in poorly-run classrooms, or bad classrooms,” O’Malley said. “That’ll up the teachers’ game, because they’ll be subject to public scrutiny. Another thing I like is that it’ll make college more affordable.”

OSU Vice President Steven Clark praised

the scorecard.

“Well, I think what this does is it gives prospective OSU students and families info for planning for where to attend school and how much it costs,” Clark said. “It also provides the value of a degree. It will show someone the expectation of earnings.”

Randy Bell, associate dean of academic affairs at the OSU college of education, sees the rationale behind the scorecard.

“The state used to bear more of the cost of undergraduate degrees, but now it’s shifted to the students,” Bell said. “So now the students have demanded more transparency, and

they deserve it.”