Higher Education Experts from Penn’s Graduate School of Education Weigh in on President Obama’s College Scorecard

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Given the insufficiency of college counseling in high schools, and the well-established challenges students and their families have learning about college costs and financial aid, this would seem like a useful tool.  Nonetheless, this approach has clear weaknesses.”  

            --Dr. Laura Perna


Dr. Laura Perna, Professor of Higher Education at the Graduate School of Education, is a national expert on college tuition, financial aid, and how those numbers affect who goes to college and who makes it to graduation.  Through her research, Dr. Perna seeks to find policy solutions to gaps in educational attainment for students from traditionally underrepresented groups.  She recently released the book Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs in Metropolitan America.



There is less here than meets the eye. It doesn't deliver on what it promises….understanding value and costs. It provides some basic information in one place and that is a step in the right direction. But, students/families will need more and better information to make their decision."

            --Dr. Joni Finney

Dr. Joni Finney, Professor of Practice at the Graduate School of Education and Director of the Institute for Research on Higher Education, has worked with state leaders to improve higher education policy for over 20 years. Dr. Finney led a project to develop the nation’s first state-by-state report cards on higher education performance, and along with Dr. Laura Perna, is working on the State Review Project, a series of reports that analyze how state policies shape the successes and failures of our nation’s higher education system.


"Obama's College Scorecard offers families another resource for figuring out where and how to go to college.  It's a great start, but the indicators presented are purely quantitative and do not take into account student inputs (socioeconomic status, preparation for college, etc.).  As a result, the outcomes are skewed in favor of highly selective, well-endowed institutions.  I'd like to see a Scorecard that helps us to understand all of our nation's colleges and universities more fully, especially minority-serving institutions."

            --Dr. Marybeth Gasman

Dr. Marybeth Gasman is a historian of higher education and the country’s foremost scholar of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  Dr. Gasman consults with HBCUs nationwide on educational leadership and philanthropy.  She is a prolific writer on increasing and nurturing diversity at mainstream institutions and can discuss how HBCUs have fared in the newly released Scorecard system.