Obama’s College Scorecard faces backlash from conservative schools

The new ranking system, which allows prospective students to compare colleges based on graduation rates and costs, has come under fire for not being totally inclusive.

Some conservative-leaning colleges are giving President Barack Obama’s new online ranking system for higher education institutions an F.

Several small colleges that refuse to accept money from states or the federal government, which includes grants or student loans, were not listed in the College Scorecard unveiled last week — and officials weren’t shy about taking the Education Department to task.

The colleges include Grove City College, a Christian liberal arts college in Pennsylvania; Christendom College, a Roman Catholic liberal arts college in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley; and Hillsdale College, an independent liberal arts college in Michigan.

“Grove City College is noticeably absent from the U.S. Department of Education’s recently released College Scorecard,” the college’s president, Paul McNulty, said in a statement on Tuesday. “However well-intentioned, the Scorecard as it exists now is incomplete and does not fully disclose comprehensive data that families need to make informed decisions. For now, the Department should, at the very least, include a disclaimer that the Scorecard is not comprehensive or reflective of all colleges and universities.”


But as an article in the Washington Post notes, the colleges do not have to report racial demographics and other data to the federal government, which is stipulated under the Title IV financial aid program — and which the Department of Education uses to compile the information for prospective students. The scorecard allows potential students to compare colleges based on graduation rates, average costs and debt, and median income of alumni.

According to a statement from Christendom obtained by the Post, college officials “were not surprised to be left off the list as Christendom receives no federal money, and as a consequence, files no data under Title IV; without this data, it is impossible for the Scorecard to include Christendom,” according to President Timothy O’Donnell.

An Education Department spokeswoman said in an email to FedScoop that unless colleges send in data as required by Title IV regulations, they would not be listed.

“With the College Scorecard, the Department is committed to doing what the president asked us to do: provide information to families and consumers and help them make a college choice that’s smart for them,” she wrote. “As of now, institutions that do not participate in Title IV federal financial aid are not included on the site because they are not required to send us data. The Department is listening closely to concerns from users and other stakeholders and will work to address those concerns in future updates to the tool.”

Reach the reporter at or follow her on Twitter @clestch.

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