Grading Higher Education: Giving Consumers the Information They Need


Released: December 2010 • Discussion Paper

Related Topics: Education, Effective Government


  • Bridget Terry LongAcademic Dean and Xander Professor of Education and Economics, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Potential students and their families must navigate a labyrinth of incomplete and uncertain information when deciding where to go to college, what to study, or what career to pursue. The result, in too many cases, is an array of poor choices being made every day, as exemplified in low completion rates, more students taking longer to complete degrees, and large student debt relative to income. This proposal calls for the federal government to expand the types of information that are available and allow users to compare indicators like cost, financial aid, student debt, employment outcomes, and average salaries following graduation, across peer institutions. It also calls for dissemination, making sure that the information collected is available to all who could benefit. Improving the information available to consumers, assembling it in clear ways, and actively disseminating the information will lead consumers to make more informed education decisions that will likely improve post-college outcomes.

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