Portland paper quotes Spencer on Obama plan to rate colleges’ cost and value
After President Obama announced a plan to create a rating system to gauge the affordability and value of colleges and universities nationwide, and to tie federal student financial aid to the scores, Bates President Clayton Spencer was among the Maine higher education leaders the Portland Press Herald sought out for reaction.
In a written statement, Spencer said, “I am very pleased to see President Obama’s focus on access and results in higher education. Bates has been committed to these principles since its founding in 1855 as one of the first liberal arts colleges in the nation to be coeducational and to welcome students of color.
“Bates’ total cost of attendance for 2013-14 is $58,950 but our average net cost, as reported on the White House ‘College Scorecard’ for 2013, is $21,402. More than 45% of Bates students receive financial aid, with an average grant for those on aid in excess of $38,000. We work hard to support all of our students for success, and 93 percent of those who enter Bates graduate with a bachelor’s degree.”
In a story the next day, the paper quoted Spencer’s entire statement, though not in the exact order in which it was presented.
Two related points are that the average cumulative loan debt from federal student loan programs for Bates students graduating in 2012 was $17,070 — nearly $10,000 lower than the national average of $26,000 — and that 60 percent of Bates students graduate with no loans.