White House grades state’s colleges

The White House today released scorecards for public and private colleges.

The criteria: “Where you can get the most bang for your educational buck,” President Obama said when announcing the report cards Tuesday during his State of the Union Address.

The goal of the scorecards, Obama said, is to pressure college officials to keep the costs down.

“Taxpayers can’t keep on subsidizing higher and higher and higher costs for higher education. Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it’s our job to make sure that they do,” he said.

In Connecticut, higher education institutions are across-the-board in affordability for students, graduation rates and the amount students need to borrow to go to a specific school.

At the University of Connecticut, while the graduation rate is higher than other institutions, the average student leaves with more debt than those leaving most other institutions. At Southern Connecticut State University, the graduation rate falls in the middle of the spectrum when compared with other colleges, and the amount students borrow falls in the middle.

Not included in the ratings this year are employment outcomes of students who graduate from specific institutions, though the U.S. Department of Education is working on including that in future reports.

(See every college scorecard here.)

Included in Obama’s blueprint released Tuesday to implement reforms in higher education is a move toward tying federal college financial aid and accreditation to graduation rates, job placements and other student outcomes.

The federal government provides more than $150 billion each year in direct loan and grant aid for students.

“In an era of limited resources, we must allocate the federal investment in student aid wisely, in order to promote opportunity in higher education and ensure the best return on investment. The President will call on Congress to consider value, affordability, and student outcomes in making determinations about which colleges and universities receive access to federal student aid, either by incorporating measures of value and affordability into the existing accreditation system; or by establishing a new, alternative system of accreditation that would provide pathways for higher education models and colleges to receive federal student aid based on performance and results,” the blueprint reads.