Ed Trust Statement on the U.S. Department of Education’s release of the latest College Scorecard data
TRANSPARENCY ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH
WASHINGTON (September 12, 2015) — José Luis Santos, vice president of higher education policy and practice at The Education Trust, issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Education’s release of the latest College Scorecard data.
“We applaud the Department of Education for improving its College Scorecard and for providing students and families with valuable information to aid in their college decision-making. The update provides important information that for far too long has been nearly impossible for students, families, and taxpayers to access.
“However, simply releasing new data and relying on consumer behavior to create change is not enough to make a college degree more attainable for low-income students and students of color, as President Obama has pledged to do. As we’ve advocated in our Tough Love report, institutions need to be held accountable for supporting student success in exchange for the $180 billion federally backed financial aid they receive annually.
“In the coming weeks, we will release a report on Pell graduation rates of public and nonprofit private colleges and universities. Our analysis will explore the gaps that exist between Pell recipients and non-Pell students and identify institutions that serve Pell Grant students well. As we have demonstrated repeatedly through the years, institutions serving similar students often produce vastly different results – showing that institutional practices matter. When they have the will, campus leaders and faculty can equitably and effectively serve students. Unfortunately, too few colleges and universities have organized themselves around that goal.
“We urge Congress in their reauthorization of the Higher Education Act to use the data unveiled today to incentivize and sanction institutions that are absorbing precious financial aid dollars while leaving vulnerable students degreeless and saddled with large sums of debt.
“Congress can and must do more for the nation’s low-income students. While an important first step, transparency alone is not enough.”
The Education Trust is a nonprofit advocacy organization that promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels, pre-kindergarten through college. Its goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people — especially those from low-income families or who are black, Latino, or American Indian — to lives on the margins of the American mainstream.