NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

College Scorecard: No College Left Behind?

October 6, 2015

When the Education Department earlier this month released its College Scorecard -- a data tool that replaces President Obama's original plan to assign ratings to schools --everal colleges weren't included.

According to the online scorecard, Hillsdale College, an accredited liberal-arts college in Michigan, doesn't exist. A reporter for the campus newspaper called the Education Department to ask for an explanation. Denise Horn, assistant press secretary, told her: "Hillsdale does offer bachelor's degrees; however…the plurality of degrees it awards are certificates."

The only problem with that excuse is that Hillsdale does not offer any certificates for academic credit.

  • Hillsdale College issues four-year undergraduate degrees in 31 disciplines as well as postgraduate degrees.
  • Hillsdale, the first U.S. college to prohibit by charter discrimination based on race or sex, refuses to count students by skin color.
  • The only other schools notably absent from the scorecard are the handful that join Hillsdale in forgoing federal funding, including Grove City College in Pennsylvania.

A more plausible explanation for the government's exclusion of Hillsdale: The college doesn't accept any form of taxpayer assistance, and it doesn't participate in Title IV federal financial-aid programs and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems, which require institutions to track and report racial demographics.

If the Education Department means to create a useful website, then it should include all four-year colleges, not just the government's financial dependents.

Source: David Whalen, "The Feds Won't Rate My College," Wall Street Journal, September 28, 2015.

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