Obama Scorecard: Top Colleges for Value and Affordability

Introducing the College Scorecard

In August 2013, President Obama proposed a new college ratings system that would identify and rank schools that offer the best value in an effort to help students and families make more informed decisions about what college to attend. Slated to launch by the 2015 academic year, the College Scorecard, as it’s called, will rate schools on accessibility, affordability and outcomes to measure overall value.

The new system is also an incentive for colleges and students to improve performance. By 2018, the Department of Education plans to tie the new rating system to the way federal financial aid is distributed to colleges. Students at high-performing colleges and universities will receive larger amounts of Pell Grants and student loans. Furthermore, colleges that increase the enrollment and graduation rates of low- and moderate-income students will be rewarded with a Pell Grant bonus, whereas schools with high dropout rates will need to disburse financial aid to students over the course of a semester, rather than in a lump sum.

Similarly, students will be held more accountable for their academic progress and will be encouraged to graduate on time and, therefore, with less debt. The president plans to propose legislation that will establish certain academic requirements in order for students to continue receiving federal financial aid, such as requiring students to complete a certain percentage of classes before they can receive funds.


AC Online Assesses Value of Colleges

The new rating system demonstrates clear government focus on college transparency and accessibility for all. AC Online, too, strives to offer valuable information on the many options prospective students have when it comes to higher education and paying for a college degree. We set out to find the colleges and universities in the U.S. most likely to land atop the president’s list. We looked at a number of factors to identify the schools that not only make college affordable, but also help students excel pre and post graduation.

Net price
A college’s net price is determined by taking the cost of attending that college (tuition and fees) and subtracting the amount of financial aid received through grants and scholarships.

Loan Default Rate
This refers to the percentage of students who have failed to comply with their loan repayment agreement.

Graduation Rate
This is defined as the percentage of students who fully complete their degrees within four or six years after initial enrollment.

Starting Salary
Based on data from PayScale.com, this represents the average salary that students from the school earn post graduation.

Student Services
We looked at the breadth and depth of services, from academic support to health centers, that each school offered its student body.

We analyzed a number of colleges and universities based on the above factors and scored them accordingly. With those in mind, we created the following list of 100 institutions that we predict will earn top ratings on the president’s College Scorecard.

Rank College Name Total Score Net Price Loan Default Rate 4 Yr Grad Rate 6 Yr Grad Rate Starting Salary Student Services
1. University of Virginia-Main Campus 96.20 $11,590 2.3% 84% 93% $50,200 Yes
2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 87.41 $11,028 0.8% 72% 85% $42,800 Yes
3. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 86.39 $14,074 1.6% 73% 89% $51,300 Yes
4. College of William and Mary 86.33 $12,660 1% 83% 91% $44,000 Yes
5. University of California-Berkeley 84.55 $15,589 2.6% 66% 90% $52,100 Yes
6. University of Florida 84.03 $11,579 3% 58% 82% $46,200 Yes
7. The College of New Jersey 83.04 $19,576 2.3% 73% 86% $45,400 Yes
8. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 83.00 $15,610 2.5% 65% 83% $51,400 Yes
9. University of Washington-Seattle Campus 82.92 $8,739 3.1% 54% 81% $47,600 Yes
10. University of California-Los Angeles 82.76 $14,474 3.4% 67% 89% $48,800 Yes
11. The University of Texas at Dallas 82.54 $7,535 7.5% 43% 63% $47,100 Yes
12. Citadel Military College of South Carolina 82.42 $14,640 3.8% 67% 76% $51,300 Yes
13. Virginia Military Institute 81.88 $13,745 2.6% 64% 73% $52,300 Yes
14. Binghamton University 81.80 $14,031 3% 66% 80% $49,100 Yes
15. Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus 81.00 $8,445 2% 31% 79% $59,000 Yes
16. University of Maryland-College Park 80.69 $13,625 3.5% 63% 82% $49,100 Yes
17. James Madison University 79.80 $12,875 2.6% 66% 81% $44,900 Yes
18. University of Connecticut 79.46 $14,877 3% 61% 78% $48,300 Yes
19. University of Mary Washington 79.10 $12,344 2.1% 67% 75% $44,300 Yes
20. Indiana University-Bloomington 79.09 $10,324 3.4% 53% 74% $42,400 Yes
21. CUNY Bernard M Baruch College 78.72 $5,778 3.2% 33% 60% $46,300 Yes
22. University of California-San Diego 78.56 $12,621 3% 56% 84% $48,400 Yes
23. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 78.31 $17,631 1.8% 53% 80% $50,900 Yes
24. University of California-Irvine 78.18 $13,217 2.7% 58% 82% $46,800 Yes
25. University of Georgia 77.69 $9,693 3.2% 49% 79% $41,100 Yes
26. North Carolina State University at Raleigh 77.57 $9,847 3.2% 42% 73% $47,000 Yes
27. Stony Brook University 77.24 $11,107 5.8% 45% 67% $45,800 Yes
28. University of Delaware 76.58 $13,376 2.8% 59% 63% $47,600 Yes
29. University of California-Santa Barbara 76.54 $14,890 2.6% 53% 80% $47,400 Yes
30. The University of Texas at Austin 76.36 $14,629 4.7% 51% 81% $48,800 Yes
31. George Mason University 76.09 $11,659 2.6% 39% 64% $47,600 Yes
32. Rutgers University-New Brunswick 76.05 $15,905 4.2% 52% 77% $48,500 Yes
33. University of New Hampshire-Main Campus 75.87 $18,439 2.5% 60% 75% $42,600 Yes
34. Miami University-Oxford 75.77 $22,210 8.2% 71% 83% $46,600 Yes
35. SUNY at Geneseo 75.62 $15,029 2.8% 64% 78% $38,700 Yes
36. University of California-Davis 75.07 $14,072 3% 50% 80% $46,500 Yes
37. University of Wisconsin-Madison 74.72 $14,940 1.4% 48% 81% $46,900 Yes
38. Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus 74.32 $21,342 6.1% 62% 85% $48,600 Yes
39. University of Vermont 74.10 $13,864 2.5% 57% 73% $41,600 Yes
40. Clemson University 74.09 $16,697 2.3% 50% 77% $45,300 Yes
41. Louisiana Tech University 74.09 $7,955 7.9% 26% 46% $45,900 Yes
42. Massachusetts Maritime Academy 73.85 $18,626 3.7% 47% 63% $50,900 Yes
43. University of California-Riverside 73.70 $11,340 4.7% 39% 65% $43,300 Yes
44. Michigan State University 72.91 $12,366 4.3% 49% 77% $44,300 Yes
45. University of Michigan-Dearborn 72.65 $7,918 4.5% 18% 49% $47,000 Yes
46. Colorado School of Mines 72.55 $20,401 3.2% 40% 67% $64,200 Yes
47. Purdue University-Main Campus 72.46 $12,534 2.8% 38% 70% $51,800 Yes
48. Texas Tech University 72.25 $10,351 7.5% 32% 60% $47,000 Yes
49. Ohio State University-Main Campus 72.05 $19,082 5.6% 46% 75% $45,100 Yes
50. California State Polytechnic University-Pomona 72.02 $6,789 4.4% 15% 53% $46,800 Yes
51. Radford University 71.99 $10,813 5.1% 40% 57% $41,200 Yes
52. CUNY Queens College 71.94 $5,446 5% 25% 52% $40,200 Yes
53. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 71.90 $16,019 2.5% 45% 68% $46,500 Yes
54. University of North Carolina at Wilmington 71.88 $9,855 4.5% 44% 69% $35,400 Yes
55. University of Massachusetts Amherst 71.86 $16,145 4.1% 49% 66% $44,900 Yes
56. CUNY College of Staten Island 71.74 $6,507 9.1% 23% 45% $43,500 Yes
57. Pittsburg State University 71.71 $10,072 9.1% 44% 51% $40,100 Yes
58. St Mary's College of Maryland 71.42 $20,521 3.6% 71% 79% $45,600 No
59. University of North Carolina at Greensboro 71.39 $7,375 3.9% 28% 52% $37,100 Yes
60. University of California-Santa Cruz 71.36 $14,238 3.7% 49% 73% $42,200 Yes
61. SUNY Maritime College 71.18 $14,866 9% 32% 52% $59,000 Yes
62. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse 71.06 $11,474 2.2% 34% 69% $39,800 Yes
63. Texas State University-San Marcos 71.00 $8,838 5.8% 24% 56% $50,200 Yes
64. California State University-Stanislaus 70.95 $6,504 7.5% 22% 50% $41,400 Yes
65. Missouri University of Science and Technology 70.50 $14,747 5.3% 25% 63% $59,000 Yes
66. University of Arkansas 70.41 $9,987 7% 34% 59% $41,600 Yes
67. Montana Tech of the University of Montana 70.22 $11,629 6.7% 16% 42% $57,400 Yes
68. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology 70.18 $9,044 6.5% 21% 46% $53,000 Yes
69. Mississippi University for Women 70.15 $7,072 9% 25% 41% $40,000 Yes
70. The University of Tennessee-Martin 70.07 $7,773 16.1% 24% 49% $39,900 Yes
71. Arizona State University 70.07 $10,599 5.9% 29% 56% $45,000 Yes
72. Rowan University 69.99 $15,518 5.6% 47% 67% $42,300 Yes
73. Ohio University-Main Campus 69.98 $18,142 8.7% 48% 69% $41,800 Yes
74. San Diego State University 69.95 $8,527 3.8% 28% 66% $43,000 Yes
75. University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus 69.69 $20,076 3.9% 57% 78% $44,500 Yes
76. Appalachian State University 69.54 $8,710 3.7% 44% 66% $36,000 Yes
77. CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice 69.48 $4,237 4.8% 23% 42% $39,100 Yes
78. West Virginia University 69.47 $8,344 7.6% 32% 58% $42,000 Yes
79. Sam Houston State University 69.44 $7,736 10.8% 22% 45% $40,300 Yes
80. University of Colorado Boulder 69.33 $18,377 3.6% 41% 67% $45,000 Yes
81. University of South Carolina-Columbia 69.33 $15,487 3% 46% 69% $40,500 Yes
82. North Carolina A & T State University 69.28 $6,147 13.5% 18% 37% $44,600 Yes
83. California State University-Long Beach 69.24 $6,455 4.7% 13% 54% $42,400 Yes
84. CUNY Hunter College 69.06 $6,893 3.9% 17% 44% $41,800 Yes
85. Towson University 69.06 $13,418 3% 43% 73% $41,000 Yes
86. California State University-Fullerton 69.05 $4,294 6.2% 16% 52% $40,500 Yes
87. Texas Woman's University 69.00 $7,868 8.1% 22% 44% $39,000 Yes
88. Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College 68.96 $10,629 4.9% 26% 59% $44,100 Yes
89. University of Missouri-Columbia 68.96 $15,759 3.9% 43% 68% $42,700 Yes
90. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire 68.94 $11,157 2.3% 25% 65% $42,600 Yes
91. Salisbury University 68.87 $14,722 3.9% 46% 66% $41,000 Yes
92. Florida State University 68.81 $12,464 5.2% 47% 71% $39,000 Yes
93. University of Iowa 68.78 $14,245 2.9% 42% 69% $42,100 Yes
94. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo 68.78 $15,253 2.8% 24% 72% $53,400 Yes
95. University of Maryland-Baltimore County 68.66 $13,639 6.2% 34% 59% $50,300 Yes
96. University of Oregon 68.61 $14,699 4.5% 46% 70% $39,500 Yes
97. Washington State University 68.58 $15,485 5.7% 40% 69% $43,700 Yes
98. CUNY Brooklyn College 68.53 $5,176 5.9% 17% 43% $41,000 Yes
99. Illinois State University 68.38 $13,722 3% 42% 69% $41,300 Yes
100. Iowa State University 68.36 $13,554 4% 36% 70% $45,700 Yes