Bad news for prestigious arts colleges: the White House has released its College Scorecard, which is a website designed to help people “find out where you can get the most bang for your buck.” The scorecard lists schools across the nation, along with their median debt load, average net cost for one year, graduation rate, and student loan default rate.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, students who attend fancy art institutions often end up with the most debt—not to mention their eventual degree often doesn’t lead to a high-paying job. The Creative Center is a for-profit liberal arts college located in Omaha, Nebraska, and has the highest debt load–$52,035. Second on the list is the Manhattan School of Music with $47,000 in debt. Rounding out the top three is the Southern California Institute of Architecture with $42,750.
The single biggest deciding factor in the amount of debt accrued does not seem to be related at all to the school’s academic quality—Ivy League Schools generally fell between $15,000 and $25,000 in debt accrued, about average when compared to other universities. No, the biggest deciding factor seemed to be whether or not students and families could afford to pay for college without taking out a loan (either through high income or scholarships).
The Obama administration claims that they intend to use this information to encourage “Congress to change the Higher Education Act so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid.”
On average, about 67% of graduates leave college with loans to pay off, up four percent from just ten years ago. This “report card” should help students evaluate which schools will have a greater return on their money. There are about 4,000 universities currently in the database.