Scorecard shows UW–Madison’s ‘bang for the buck’

Feb. 14, 2013

by Greg Bump

A new scorecard from the U.S. Department of Education's College Affordability and Transparency Center reinforces UW-Madison's standing as a good value among its peer institutions.

President Barack Obama announced the release of the scorecards during his State of the Union address Tuesday, saying "parents and students can use [the scorecard] to compare schools based on a simple criteria — where you can get the most bang for your educational buck."

The scorecard, found online at http://collegecost.ed.gov/scorecard/UniversityProfile.aspx?org=s&id=240444, pegs UW-Madison's annual net cost — the price students pay after grants and scholarships — for undergraduate students at $14,940. In addition, the scorecard says the average net price of attending UW-Madison decreased by 4.9 percent from 2007 to 2009.

Jocelyn Milner, director of the Office of Academic Planning and Institutional Research, says the scorecard is consistent with other comparisons among peer institutions from a range of sources that show UW-Madison offers students an excellent educational experience at good value.

"Our faculty and staff and our campus leaders give a lot of attention to the quality of the educational experience and to student success and it shows in these scorecard numbers," Milner says. "We also know that UW-Madison perennially comes out as a best value in ratings by third-party sources that use some of these same indicators."

Kiplinger's ranked UW-Madison 13th on its 2013 list of 100 best values in public universities. Kiplinger's annually assesses quality and cost according to a number of measurable standards.

Milner says that a factor in the decreased net price is the Madison Initiative for Undergrads a program launched in 2009 that provides $20 million per year in need-based financial aid.

Estimating the cost of higher education can be a challenge for families. For a more customized estimation, they can go to UW-Madison's own net price calculator at http://www.finaid.wisc.edu/award-estimator.php.

The scorecard does not include employment data for UW-Madison, but according to figures gathered by a survey of 2012-13 graduates on their future plans, nearly 70 percent planned to enter the workforce, while 25 percent planned to attend graduate or professional school. Among those who planned to work, 55 percent had accepted a position and an additional six percent were considering multiple offers. Forty-five percent of those who were entering the workforce planned to work in Wisconsin, while 15 percent were undecided and the rest were seeking employment outside the state.