The federal government recently released a comprehensive guide to colleges and universities in the United States — but Hillsdale College is conspicuously absent.
Last week, the White House announced the new database of graduate employment and student loan statistics from every institution of higher education in the country. The “College Scorecard” is designed to help prospective students “identify which schools provide the biggest bang for your buck.”
President Barack Obama said, “Americans will now have access to reliable data on every institution of higher education. You’ll be able to see how much each school’s graduates earn, how much debt they graduate with, and what percentage of a school’s students can pay back their loans — which will help all of us see which schools do the best job of preparing America for success.”
But Hillsdale College, ranked 17th in Kiplinger’s recent list of Best Value Liberal Arts Colleges, is not listed in the database, which is a project of the U.S. Department of Education in cooperation with the White House.
The Department of Education defended its omission of Hillsdale College, saying it doesn’t confer enough four-year degrees.
“Hillsdale does offer bachelor’s degrees,” Denise Horn, assistant press secretary for the U.S. Department of Education, told the Collegian. “However, because the plurality of degrees it awards are certificates, not two-year or four-year degrees, it was not included on the Scorecard at launch.”
Grove City College, another school known for refusing to take federal funding, was also excluded from the list.
There is one “Hillsdale” college in the database: Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College, located in Moore, Oklahoma, with 195 undergraduate students.
According to the graduation requirements listed by the college registrar, Hillsdale offers two baccalaureate degrees, “each based on the completion of four years of study in the liberal arts.”
The Department of Education doesn’t agree that those specifications make Hillsdale a four-year institution.
“Hillsdale is a predominantly certificate degree granting institution,” Horn explained. “At launch, we focused our attention on predominantly two- and four-year degree programs. We will be exploring ways moving forward to account for shorter degree programs and to incorporate them onto the website.”
Though Hillsdale does not accept federal funding, the college does submit some data to be included in analyses of accredited ranking companies such as U.S. News and World Report, which use data from the federal government to generate rankings.
“At least under the current administration,” said College President Larry Arnn, “they refuse to receive it unless we include data about race of students and other things that we have never collected, that is, we have not collected this data for more than 170 years.”
While information covering the ethnicity of the student body is one of the data sets listed in the “scorecard,” there are many schools with certain sets of data listed as “unavailable.”
“We may be the first institution of any kind anywhere to commit in its charter to admit students ‘without regard to race, sex, or national origin,’” Arnn said. “Never mind that. The federal government demands that we count our students by the color of their skin.”
The White House declined to comment.
“Hillsdale College, 1844. United States Department of Education, 1979,” Arnn added. “The latter has never been very good at history or even current affairs.”