Scorecard compares UK to other schools

By Anyssa Roberts| @kykernel

news@kykernel.com

In President Obama’s State of the Union address, he announced the creation of a scorecard for American colleges to provide students and families with a look at some of the frequently, and not so frequently, asked questions.

President Eli Capilouto sent out an email to students Feb. 26 that contained a link to UK’s scorecard as well as the chance to compare UK to other institutions in the U.S. using information gathered from the 2011-12 school year.

The scorecard, and many others, can be found on collegeportraits.org. The website compares more than 300 public colleges and universities in all 50 states.

The website was created as part of the Voluntary System of Accountability geared toward providing greater accountability through information on public four-year universities.

“We welcome these evaluations for our students, faculty and communities to see,” Capilouto said.

Kentucky has six universities on the site.

Capilouto compared the scorecard to information hospitals are required to publicly provide.

“Hospitals have all of their numbers out there for people to see,” he said. “You can compare one hospital with 12 deaths to one with five deaths and so on and so forth. Numbers of people attending those hospitals never changed. People still went to those hospitals or what have you.”

In a side-by-side comparison with the University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University and Eastern Kentucky University, UK rises and falls in some areas.

UK exceeds Eastern Kentucky University in terms of in-state tuition cost. Students at UK pay an average of $8,610 per semester, whereas EKU students pay close to $6,960.

However, in terms of success and progress, 82 percent of students return to UK after the first year, whereas 65 percent return to EKU, according to College Portraits.

With close to 6,000 more students than Louisville, UK spent $5,306 in annual awards to undergraduate students who had need-based grants.

U of L paid $8,074 for its students. However, UK consistently has a higher graduation rate of 59.2 percent, according to College Portraits.

UK’s scorecard can be useful for prospective students looking to make an educated decision to choose a university better suited to their majors and budgets.

“College websites often contain a bewildering array of menus, sub-sites and links to different kinds of information,” said Kevin Carey, policy director of the Education Sector, a nonprofit organization committed to achieving impact in education. “For prospective students and their parents, it can be hard to locate the useful relevant information.”

Capilouto said the scorecards are just the beginning.

“I think these scorecards are in the elementary stages,” he said. “At times it can be hard to find the right information when a prospective student and their parent sit down to look at colleges.”

In his email he said the scorecard reflects work that needs to be done to UK’s graduation rate and financial aid.

The Kentucky General Assembly is considering House Concurrent Resolution 13, which would “direct the Legislative Research Commission to establish a task force to study postsecondary education appropriations and student financial aid.”