Will the new financial factors scorecard help or hurt students in choosing university majors?


In January, Florida students wishing to attend state university will have a new dashboard to determine whether a specific university specialization is worth pursuing based on median student loan debt, salaries, and d ‘other financial results.

It’s called “My Florida Future” and the idea is “to help students and families make more informed decisions about educational options and future employment opportunities,” according to a new law.

But the upcoming scorecard may still cause concern on some fronts, following the controversy last spring over ‘favorable’ college majors and their potential impact on higher education and student choices. The question is whether the scorecard, with its financial components, could lead students to choose a major purely for monetary reasons.

Republican State Senator Dennis Baxley of Central Florida initially sought to tie a popular merit scholarship program called Bright Futures to specific majors, so that top performing students could not receive the benefits of the scholarship only if they chose a favorable major. But which major? Major in liberal arts? Major in Mathematics? Major in history? Business majors?

Baxley intended to promote employable majors and job security after college, but an outcry from faculty, students and other Floridians caused him to back down and switch to the language of the new dashboard.

Marshall Criser III, Chancellor of the State University System of Florida, discusses a new dashboard that will launch in January 2022 to show students financial results in different academic areas. Source: Screenshot / Florida Channel

Marshall Criser III, chancellor of the Florida State University system, briefly mentioned the upcoming scorecard during a Senate Committee on Education meeting on Tuesday, updating the committee on the state of the university system of ‘State of Florida.

“Quick take: by January of next year you’ll see a new agenda, which was frankly the result of legislation that started in the Senate last year, where we’ve developed a new platform called” My Florida Future “where we can to provide all of our students … the degree and the job results, the salary results for those degrees,” Criser said.

Criser said the scorecard will also help students see how income levels change if a student pursues higher education in the field.

“I would also add that in the work we do, we also look at the issue of student debt,” including a debt calculator in the dashboard, Criser said.

Karen Morian, former president of the United Faculty of Florida, told the Phoenix earlier in the spring that she feared the scorecard could be used to review similar legislation, such as the unpopular original version of Baxley’s bill. .

“I think it’s a question of data mining so they can come back in a year or two and say, ‘See, it’s not profitable. We’re just going to shut down these (majors) at Bright Futures, ”Morian told the Phoenix in the 2021 spring session.“ If that is the plan, it will be damaging, ”she said.

The dashboard, which is to be posted on the website of the admissions office of each state university, will provide at least the following information in each academic area:

(a) Median salary after graduation 1, 5 and 10 years after graduation.

(b) Median student debt

(c) Debt to income ratio;

(d) Estimated monthly loan payment as a percentage of gross monthly income; and

(e) The percentage of graduates who continued their studies beyond the baccalaureate.

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