Oswego State and colleges across the country received a “college scorecard” in a recent study completed by the U.S. Department of Education.
The information was released on the White House official website and included information about a schools cost, graduation rate, loan default rate and median borrowing for a student’s undergraduate study.
According to Oswego State’s Director of Financial Aid Mark Humbert, the project gave prospective and current students an opportunity to more easily obtain information about schools.
“The more information students can have to make their decisions and prepare for the future is good, it’s only positive,” Humbert said.
In the report, the graduation rate for students at Oswego State who enrolled full-time and never enrolled in college before is 57.4. Of the other SUNY schools researched, including SUNY Cortland, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Albany, SUNY Geneseo and Buffalo State, only Potsdam and Buffalo State came in with a lower graduation rate total of 51.1 percent and 46.7 percent, respectively. SUNY Geneseo came in with the highest rate at 80.9 percent.
Oswego State’s net average price for undergraduate in-state students came in at $13,818. Compared to other SUNY schools, the cost of attendance ranks near the middle. Along with Oswego State, other schools whose cost of attendance averages between 12,000 and 13,000 are Oneonta, Plattsburgh, Fredonia, Potsdam and Albany.
“Certainly we’re always trying to keep costs down,” Humbert said.
One cause for concern found in the scorecard was in the loan default rate section. Nationally, the average of students who defaulted on their Federal student loans within three years of entering repayment was 13.4 percent. While ranking below the national average of 7.6 percent, Oswego State ranked second highest on the list of comparable SUNY schools; only Buffalo State came in higher at 11.1 percent.
With such a high default rate on loans by students, Humbert said Oswego State is doing its best to lower that total.
“We’re always looking to improve,” Humbert said. “We’re always urging students to take out as little loans as possible and making sure they understand their options and what to do if they get in trouble and what steps to take.”
Along with informing students of their loan status as graduation approaches, the financial aid department will follow up with already graduated students. In an effort to provide further assistance to students with loan problems following graduation, the financial aid department is currently looking to add an outside vendor to help assist students with their loan payback options.
While the scorecard has been released, more information is still being worked on and will soon be released. The U.S. Department of Education is currently still working to provide information about the average earnings of former undergraduate students. There has also been a SUNY initiative to have a standardized award letter so, no matter what campus a student chooses, they will get similar information about financial aid available to them.
“I would encourage students to look at [the scorecard] and think about the way they’re going to repay,” Humbert said. “It’s easier now than once you leave.”