New Metrics Needed to Highlight and Close Racial Disparities in Student Debt Outcomes by College

  • Hold colleges to a minimum standard. Debt metrics should identify colleges with consistently adverse outcomes for students. Thresholds should be set to identify institutions well below the norm, while avoiding disruptive impacts on most colleges.
  • Develop and consider using earnings net of debt payments. All debt metrics are likely to correlate with race and income, but some metrics are more influenced by factors external to colleges than others are. We believe that a metric that incorporates an earnings threshold is more likely to reward college level strategies that improve completion and credential quality, which can lift earnings above a minimum bar, without withdrawing opportunities from students.
  • Pair multiple metrics together. Policymakers should consider ways to pair metrics that can provide multiple paths for colleges to demonstrate value. For example, the repayment rate could provide an initial filter that would allow institutions that have strong loan payment outcomes to pass the accountability standard, regardless of performance based on earnings metrics. This could be particularly helpful when colleges feel available earnings data do not accurately reflect the financial health of their students. Colleges would still need to pass CDR and existing eligibility standards as well.

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Source of research, design, & advocacy for student-centered public policies that promote affordability, accountability, and equity in higher ed. ticas.org

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The Institute for College Access & Success

The Institute for College Access & Success

Source of research, design, & advocacy for student-centered public policies that promote affordability, accountability, and equity in higher ed. ticas.org

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