Bethel ranks near bottom of similar Minnesota Schools in government’s new college rankings.
Meghan Duerre | Freelance
In a recent ranking of colleges by the U.S. government, Bethel University’s score has people around campus raising their eyebrows. President Obama announced in 2013 that the White House and the Department of Education were working on a national college ranking system. When the results, called the College Scorecard, were released, Bethel’s score didn’t stack up well against similar schools in the region. Obama said the system is meant to evaluate colleges and universities on affordability and on return investment — the latter being information not many students know before choosing a school.
When measuring salary after graduation, Bethel ranks 11 out of 13 Minnesota private colleges. The rankings, which can be found atwww.collegescorecard.ed.gov, assess through government data the following: graduation rates, salaries after graduation, tuition costs, financial aid, student debt, diversity and SAT/ACT scores. However, some are calling this system a government overreach because other non-government organizations already have similar college assessments. The ranking system has been criticized for its inaccuracy, unorganization, for shrinking complex institutions into a series of numbers and for not taking into account a number of other aspects of schools that are big deciding factors for prospective students– things like student life and community.
Some have wondered how College Scorecard will affect what college prospective students will choose to attend. Bret Hyder, Bethel’s CAS Director of Admissions, doesn’t think College Scorecard will make a sizeable difference in the landscape of higher education.
“Most of this information is already available to prospective students and families at other governmental and private search sites, so this is essentially nothing new,” Hyder said.
A more important issue for many is how the Department of Education and the White House have overstepped their bounds. Opponents feel that since non-governmental sources for this information already exist, it’s not necessary for the federal government have to get involved. Others see it as the government’s attempt to organize this information in one place and help students figure out, financially, what their best college options are, especially since so many college students receive federal student loans and grants. It doesn’t change the reality that college admission is as competitive, and expensive, as ever.