The College Scorecard reports attendance costs, graduation rates, and graduates' incomes. What the friendly interface doesn't show you, though, is that the institution has very little effect on earnings, once you correct for other factors.
The thing is, the DoE knows this. It's in the accompanying policy paper (PDF).
“only about 5 percent of the variation in earnings across students who attend four-year schools is explained by the institution those students attend” (p. 49). If that’s largely correct, then the entire premise of “performance funding” is flawed.So why, on the College Scorecard site, do we see this?
I can't believe I even have to point this out: Being associated with higher incomes and leading to higher incomes are two different things. Whitening smokers' teeth isn't going to prevent lung cancer. And attending an institution full of wealthy engineering majors won't do much for your lifetime earnings if you're a first-generation student majoring in social work.
|No one's surprised by this, right?|
So do we all go out there and fight to recruit wealthy, white, tall, attractive, conscientious male extroverts who are studying petroleum engineering? (And maybe some women too, I guess, as long as they're thin, blonde, and don't plan to have kids.)
|Entrepreneurial personality types earn the most. Introverted idealists earn the least. Go figure.|
Or, as Matt Reed suggests, is the entire premise of "performance funding" flawed?