Department of Education scorecard reveals CMU has highest debt rate of all MAC schools

Central Michigan University students have the highest debt of any school in the Mid-American Conference, according to the "College Scorecard" from the U.S. Department of Education.

Following President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday, the Department of Education released an online scorecard detailing information related to costs and graduation rates in an effort to ease the college selection process.

Under direction of the Obama administration, the interactive scoreboard offers a report card for all universities nationwide on the basis of cost, value and quality by ranking them into three categories: high, medium and low.

CMU made an appearance in each of these groups, being placed in the low category for cost, at an estimated $12,918 per year after grants and scholarships are subtracted from the institution's undergraduate cost of attendance, and the median category for a graduation rate of 54.2 percent.

However, the university was scored to have a comparatively high debt rate of $22,400 throughout the course of schooling, which translates to an average loan debt rate of $258.16 per month – the highest of any MAC school.

Compared to all other schools in the Mid-American Conference, CMU ranks fifth in lowest overall cost of schooling and lowest graduation rate.

When compared to Michigan State University, CMU has a higher overall cost of schooling, lower graduation rate and higher loan default rate. However, MSU tops CMU’s overall debt by about $3,000.

Also included in the report is information on the rate of students who default on their loans within three years of entering repayment. CMU ranked well below the national average of 13.4 percent with a loan default rate of 4.4 percent.

According to a White House news release, the scorecard is designed to ensure the schools are well-suited for student needs, priced affordably, and are consistent with student education and career goals.

“We know students and families are often overwhelmed in the college search process but feel they lack the tools to sort through the information and decide which school is right for them,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in the release. “The College Scorecard provides a snapshot about an institution’s cost and value to help families make smart decisions about where to enroll.”

Obama promised to release the scorecard during his joint address before Congress Tuesday while addressing his plans for education.

"Parents and students can use (the scorecard) to compare schools based on a simple criteria — where you can get the most bang for your educational buck," Obama said.

The Department of Education plans to add another section of the scoreboard, earnings potential, within the next year or so.


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