Hank Sims / @ 2:37 p.m. / Education

HSU Bombs White House’s New ‘College Scorecard’

Tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act, so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid. And tomorrow, my Administration will release a new “College Scorecard” that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck. 

— Pres. Barack Obama, 2013 State of the Union Address

As good as his word — in this matter, if not matters Guantanamo — the president today released his administration’s “College Scorecard” on the White House website.

It’s a flashy enough application, even though it follows the general, maddening tendency of government web data clearinghouse-type things in that it refuses to let you deep link to individual items of interest. Also, strangely, there seems to be no way to compare or rank a subset of colleges on their bang-for-buck O-factor. And it’s kind of bare bones: It just puts existing federal data in an easy-to-digest format.

Even so, given the high profile of this thing the administration at Humboldt State must be sweating it a little, as must parents of HSU students. [Disclosure, my second of the day: The HSU journalism department pays me a part-time salary.] As stated above, there’s no easy way to compare and contrast colleges in the “College Scorecard,” but a quick spot check of six California public universities and one private one leaves HSU looking pretty grim.

Of the seven universities we checked — HSU, Chico State, Sonoma State, CSU Fullerton, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and Stanford — Humboldt State had by far the lowest graduation rate. It had the highest rate of post-graduation student loan default. It was fairly cheap, but still over twice as much as Fullerton and not that much cheaper than Berkeley or Davis. And families and students borrow more to go to Humboldt than they do for any of the other institutions listed, apart from Sonoma and (barely) Berkeley.

There follows a quick rundown. Head over to the Scorecard for information from more universities and for an explanation of terms:

COSTS (after grants and scholarships, per year)

  • STANFORD: $21,421
  • BERKELEY: $15,589
  • DAVIS: $14,702
  • SONOMA: $12,128
  • CHICO: $11,276
  • SONOMA: $12,128
  • HSU: $11,149
  • FULLERTON: $4,294

GRADUATION RATE (within six years)

  • STANFORD: 96.1 percent
  • BERKELEY: 90.5 percent
  • DAVIS: 81.7 percent
  • CHICO: 59 percent
  • SONOMA: 56.7 percent
  • FULLERTON: 50.1 percent
  • HSU: 39.7 percent


  • HSU: 8 percent
  • FULLERTON: 6.2 percent
  • CHICO: 5.8 percent
  • SONOMA: 3.5 percent
  • DAVIS: 3 percent
  • BERKELEY: 2.6 percent
  • STANFORD: 1 percent

MEDIAN BORROWING (average postgraduation student loan payment per month)

  • SONOMA: $207.14
  • BERKELEY: $198.50
  • HSU: $193.75
  • DAVIS: $166.87
  • CHICO: $163.41
  • STANFORD:$149.95
  • FULLERTON: $143.85



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