U.S. Department of Education officials rolled out a new tool Wednesday that officials say will help students and parents compare colleges more easily.
The department's new College Scorecard, announced by President Barack Obama in Tuesday's State of the Union address, allows users to compare colleges and universities against their peer institutions on a number of factors, including average cost, graduation rate and employment prospects.
During the address, Obama said the tool was part of an effort to improve access to higher education and make college more affordable.
“To grow our middle class, our citizens must have access to the education and training that today's jobs require,” Obama said. “But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who's willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead.”
Oklahoma higher education Chancellor Glen Johnson said he expected Oklahoma's public colleges and universities to fare well in the scorecard.
Citing recent national rankings in which Oklahoma performed well in terms of affordability and average student debt, Johnson said affordability is a major priority for the state's higher education system.
“Based on what we know from our early analysis of the College Scorecard, Oklahoma would fare very well,” Johnson said.
But the scorecard isn't without its detractors. One of the main problems with the scorecard is that it only helps students who seek it out, said Rachel Fishman, a policy analyst for the nonprofit New America Foundation.
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For more information on the College Scorecard, go to www.