The US Department of Education has designed a College Scorecard for parents and students to understand the affordability and value of each university. These scorecards contain information about each college, from costs to graduation rate to employment. But there is an ongoing debate about how the metrics fail to measure the mission of the universities along with things like resources and student demographics. How can an inner city university measure up to an Ivy League institution?
College Bound Dorchester is being used to illustrate this point. This Boston program aims to increase college attendance and graduation rates among low-income students.
There are currently about 400 off-track youth ages 14-27 enrolled in College Bound Dorchester’s College Connections program. 92% of the enrolled students are from households with an annual income below $35,000, with more than half of those households earning less than $14,900 per year. However, the program’s college retention rate is 61%, which is much higher than national college retention rates for similar populations.
This brings into question whether colleges will admit students from programs like College Bound Dorchester if it will affect their College Scorecard rankings in a negative way. The scorecard is meant to help students and families but could in fact be a detriment to programs making big differences in the lives of disadvantaged students.
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