U.S. President Barack Obama says federal college-aid programs should be expanded, and in return the schools need to be held accountable for their costs and results. Republican candidate Mitt Romney thinks students should shop around for the best deal and get help from their parents.
Their plans may differ, yet they are similar in one way: They expose the glaring gap of reliable information about the colleges’ success rates. Parents can’t shop around and schools can’t be held accountable if there is no data available. So high school juniors from well-off families make their decisions based on how friendly people were during their tours of pretty campuses, while poor kids gamble that a college degree is worth the risk of going into debt.