The U.S. Department of Education has recently launched a new website called the "College Scorecard" as a part of the White House's College Affordability and Transparency Center. The website came to fruition after President Barack Obama made it part of his campaign to create an information center to allow students and families to compare colleges in terms of their value.
According to the Department of Education's website, many families and students felt that there was no system in place that provided a clear idea of a school's overall cost and value, in comparison with others, in order for them to make an informed decision.
Ramapo College has received a high grade on the federal scorecard based on its affordability. The scorecard focuses on qualities like the cost of attendance over four years, graduation rate and transfer rate. The scorecard took into account the final price after Ramapo's average grants, scholarships and loans were given out, which factored out to $13,722 per year.
Ramapo's graduation rate, around 70 percent, performed well in comparison to other schools. The rate is based on the number of bachelor's degrees earned within a six-year period. The transfer rate of 7 percent was also lower in comparison to a number of other state schools in New Jersey, including Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Montclair State University and Richard Stockton College.
Junior Emily Schnier said she wasn't shocked by Ramapo's scorecard.
"I was not surprised. I know our school is generally cheap for New Jersey standards, and as a member of RASA [Ramapo Admissions Student Ambassadors], we make it a point to tell freshmen that we have a very high graduation rate," Schnier explained.
On the other hand, sophomore Elle Alfaro said that she was a little surprised by the results.
"People don't typically transfer out, but I originally thought that the lack of school spirit here could have coincided with the graduation rate," Alfaro said about the scorecard results.
Alfaro did think that Ramapo earned its standing in affordability.
"Even as an out-of-state student, it is still affordable for me to go here with the scholarships and grants they provide," Alfaro said.
Both Alfaro and Schnier felt that one important aspect the scorecard does not take into account, school spirit, could be improved at Ramapo.
"I don't know if they're factoring in school spirit," Schnier said. "They don't factor students staying here on the weekends and everything. We lack that here, but there are a lot of efforts being made on campus to improve it."
Alfaro also had a positive outlook on school spirit developing at Ramapo.
"I am on CPB [College Programming Board], and we are taking measures to get students out there," Alfaro explained. "With time it will come, but based on numbers school spirit is increasing."
Olivia Evans, graduate assistant for Student Activities and a Ramapo graduate, was not surprised by Ramapo's standing.
"For me personally, I chose Ramapo because it was one of the least expensive colleges in the area," Evans said. "Some people were surprised, but I think the scorecard is just something the current administration cooked up."
Evans continued to discuss the federal government's decision to create the scorecard system and how it could negatively affect many colleges.
"I don't think it's the federal government's business to make a scorecard. Someone else should be responsible for that, because it is going to be detrimental to some colleges. Private schools are more expensive, but they oftentimes give out more scholarships and grants," Evans explained about her stance on the federal government's involvement with the scorecard.
Anna Farneski, College spokesperson, explained that Ramapo was pleased with the grade it received.
"We are happy to be judged by relevant criteria and appreciate any effort to make college admissions more transparent," Farneski said.
Students and faculty alike seem to have generally positive reactions to the scorecard, hoping the percentages will only continue to improve in time.