New ‘College Scorecard’ Stats Show U.Va.’s Value

March 01, 2013

In his State of the Union address, President Obama announced the “College Scorecard,” a new tool designed to help students and parents determine how a university stacks up in key areas such as prices, graduation rates and student loans.

The University of Virginia made such data publicly available prior to the president’s address, and the new scorecard’s results reinforce the University’s  standing as one of the best places to get a quality education at an affordable price, without piling up too much debt. (How U.Va. stacks up.)

"Parents and students need all the information they can get to make good decisions about where to invest their money and time toward a college degree," U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan said. "The College Scorecard is another tool to use in that effort, and we are pleased that it affirms our belief that the University of Virginia is a national leader for quality and value."

The College Scorecard uses data already collected by the Department of Education to compare metrics such as average net price, graduation rates, loan default rates and median monthly borrowing by students. In the State of the Union, Obama said the site is something that “parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.”

An analysis of 30 colleges and universities that U.Va. considers its peers shows that the University – recently ranked at the No. 1 best value public college by the Princeton Review – delivers on that criterion. It is among the least expensive, graduates a high percentage of students, and produces graduates with lower debt loads and a small likelihood of defaulting on federal loans, according to the College Scorecard’s data.

U.Va. also is ranked No. 2 on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine list of the “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” for 2012-13.

The College Scorecard site calculates the average net price per year for in-state students at public universities and for all students at private universities. Only three schools out of the set of 30 peer institutions cost less than the University’s $11,950 per year.

The scorecard also tabulates graduation rate after six years, based on undergraduate students who enrolled full-time and have never enrolled in college before. Of the 30 schools, the University had the third-highest graduation rate at 93.9 percent.

With regard to borrowing, the College Scorecard shows that an average of 13.4 percent of borrowers have defaulted on their federal student loans within three years of beginning repayment. U.Va.’s average default rate is 2.3 percent, among the lowest of its peer institutions.

The site also calculates the average monthly repayment amount for federal loan borrowing by families, assuming a 10-year payback period. The University is among the lowest of its peer group, with an average monthly payback of $201.39.

In the future, the scorecard will also include information about the average earnings of former students who borrowed using federal student loans. That information is not yet available on the site.

Peer colleges and universities:

  • College of William & Mary
  • Cornell University
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • George Mason University
  • Rutgers University
  • SUNY – Buffalo
  • Tulane University
  • UCLA
  • University of Arizona
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Florida
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Nebraska
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Texas
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia Tech
  • Washington University

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