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The U.S. Department of Edu­cation added more than 700 insti­tu­tions to the College Scorecard database in January, according to a department spokesperson — but Hillsdale College remains excluded.
Last Sep­tember, Pres­ident Barack Obama described the database, created to compare col­leges and uni­ver­sities across the nation, as “com­pre­hensive.” According to the department spokesperson, the updated Scorecard includes all degree-granting insti­tu­tions listed in the department’s Inte­grated Post­sec­ondary Edu­cation Data System database.
A further update to add more insti­tu­tions is in the works, but neither Provost David Whalen, nor College Pres­ident Larry Arnn are aware of any contact between the college and the Department of Edu­cation regarding adding Hillsdale to the Scorecard.
“We’re working with the higher edu­cation com­munity to make sure that schools that weren’t included in the first round of the Scorecard have the oppor­tunity to be in the Scorecard,” said Acting Sec­retary of Edu­cation John B. King Jr. in a hearing of the U.S. House Com­mittee on Edu­cation and the Work­force Feb. 24.
Hillsdale’s Con­gressman Tim Walberg ques­tioned King on Hillsdale’s con­spicuous absence from the Scorecard. Walberg described the incom­pleteness of the database as “mis­leading.”
“I’m not sure that the federal gov­ernment should be involved in putting out some­thing like that,” Walberg said at the hearing. “As you say it is not a rating system, but it becomes a rating system. It’s impos­sible not to be a rating system when that type of infor­mation is included. And it’s not com­plete — it’s incom­plete.”
King coun­tered by saying he and the department believe that the Scorecard pro­vides infor­mation that “is important and can inform deci­sions.”
“It’s important to know the Scorecard is not a rating system,” King said at the hearing. “We don’t have rankings of the schools. It’s infor­mation — it’s a trans­parent system of infor­mation about the schools.”
As the Col­legian reported last Sep­tember, there is no dis­claimer on the College Scorecard website that any schools are missing from the database. More than 1.4 million unique users have visited the Scorecard since its Sep­tember launch, according to the department spokesperson.
The Edu­cation Department already has almost all of the infor­mation nec­essary to include Hillsdale in the Scorecard.
Scorecard data is sourced from the Inte­grated Post­sec­ondary Edu­cation Data System database — a system which draws from data col­lected by the National Center for Edu­cation Sta­tistics, another division of the Edu­cation Department.
Data sub­mitted by Hillsdale — such as tuition and fees, geo­graphical location, aca­demic pro­grams, financial aid, and accred­i­tation infor­mation — is acces­sible in the NCES database, according to NCES employee Aurora D’Amico.
To be included in IPEDS — and by extension, in the Scorecard — a school must submit racial demo­graphic infor­mation of its student body — infor­mation which Hillsdale has never col­lected for ethical reasons and, therefore, cannot submit.
Many schools are included in the Scorecard with data sets marked “not available,” but so far, the department has made no effort to add Hillsdale to the database without racial demo­graphic infor­mation.
“I don’t think that’s accurate to portray Hillsdale College — simply because it’s not included in the Scorecard — as probably not worthy of people going to the school, do you?” Walberg asked at the hearing.