Update on College Scorecards

I have written several pieces about college affordability, student debt levels, and the value of a college degree on this blog site. This entry continues that line of inquiry.  APU has received a good deal of media attention over our decision to reset tuition to $19,500 for fall 2014, down from $29,700. For Alaskans, this makes our tuition comparable to west coast public universities.

In February 2013, President Obama’s Administration released the College Scorecard, a new planning tool “to help students and their families make more educated decisions about college [wherein]…. students and their families can look up the cost and assess the value of colleges {from] five key pieces of data:  costs, graduation rate, loan default rate, average amount borrowed, and employment.”  Overall, APU scores well on these measures.

Alaska Pacific University is posting its own up-to-date college scorecard wherein we benchmark ourselves against our peer institutions i.e., small, private not-for-profit universities who are members of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).  Obviously there are other important measures to consider when making the decision about where to attend college and nothing beats visiting the campus first hand.

How did APU do on the President’s five benchmarks?

Costs: APU’s tuition is now in line with its peers, most of who operate in geographical areas with significantly lower costs of doing business than Alaska.

Update: eCollegeFinder has announced its online list of accredited colleges and universities with the highest graduation rates by state. Alaska Pacific University has come out on top in the state of Alaska!

Graduation rates: This measures graduation rates of full-time, first- time degree-seeking undergraduate student cohort enrolled in a four-year institution until they complete their bachelor’s degree at the same institution. This means that anyone who transferred into or out of a college is not counted.  APU is slightly above the norm on this measure.

Loan default rate: APU received a commendatory letter from the Department of Education for receiving high marks on this metric as only 6.4% of APU borrowers defaulted on their Federal student loans within three years of entering repayment, compared to the national average of 13.4%.

Average amount borrowed: APU falls within the “High” category on this metric based on past data.  We believe that by lowering our tuition by one-third, this will improve.

Employment: This is a difficult one to score. The President’s College Scorecard web acknowledges this by referring the reader to ask each individual college for its data. APU conducts annual surveys of its alumni to gauge their success in securing employment after graduation.  APU’s most recent alumni survey indicates that 73% were employed full time, 60% of whom were working in their chosen field.

I invite you to peruse our scorecard metrics. APU excels on one of the most important measures i.e., student/faculty ratio. APU’s average class size (8:5) is significantly below our peers, consistent with our mission to provide personalized, experiential, hands-on instruction in the field with Alaska as its primary classroom. We’ve made it easy to submit your college application on-line.