By Cynthia Moberly, News Editor

The Obama administration has released a new tool available to anyone with Internet access: The College Scorecard.

With yet another tool at their fingertips, prospective college students everywhere can search the database for 2-year or 4-year institutions, filtering through fields such as degree program, location, size and even the average salary of alumni, which seems to be particularly controversial.

After clicking around the site (collegescorecard.ed.gov) further, you might find that the “salary after attending” rate is actually the “median earnings of former students who received federal financial aid, at ten years after entering the school.” Jerry Z. Muller, professor at Catholic University of America and author of “The Costs of Accountability,” in an interview with the New York Times said that this tool is absurd. “[Some school’s] graduates have high earnings because they’re selective about who they let in.”

 According to the website, Yale University’s students earn about $66,000 a year, whereas rival Harvard University’s students make about $87,000 a year. That not only makes the Ivy League rival school look increasingly enticing, but is a completely unfair comparison in that no other factors are taken into consideration.

The large dump of somewhat useless and shallow information that inhabits the website proves to be yet another outlet for our obsession with the college admissions process. It is another way to mindlessly search the Internet, seeking that a decision be made for us based on trivial data. In no way will a website ever be able to accurately measure students’ happiness, satisfaction, or success rate because no universal scale for such things exists. Sure, we can publish graduation rates and salaries, but we will only ever have access to a very small portion of the greater picture.

Take, for instance, the fact that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a higher suicide rate than the national average for colleges and universities. The current MIT suicide rate per 100,000 undergraduates is about 12.63 whereas the national rate is about seven. There is no proof (especially that would be published on the Internet) that the difficulty of the degree programs at MIT is the cause of this and not many other factors. Should the suicide rate necessarily deter a prospective student from MIT, one of the most prestigious institutions in the nation?

It is another way to mindlessly search the Internet, seeking that a decision be made for us based on trivial data

Every year, such prospective students, including those who have ended up at Asbury, begin their college search online. With simple tools, it is easy to narrow down the criteria before investing quality time in visiting certain schools. The value of the information that exists about colleges and universities online has immensely increased over the past several years, as the value of face to face interaction and visits have decreased. Without walking around campus, staying in the dorms and eating in the dining hall, students in the future will likely be making decisions rooted deeply in information found on the Internet. Online reputation has become everything, and the implementation of this website seems to support that notion.