Hillsdale College Responds To Not Being Put On Obama’s College List

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Casey Harper Contributor
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One of the conservative schools left off of President Obama’s list of U.S. colleges has a few choice words for the administration.

Hillsdale College Provost David Whalen wrote an editorial published in The Wall Street Journal that defends the school’s reputation and calls out the rest of America’s schools as the “government’s financial dependents.”

The editorial is in response to news that the Department of Education’s College Scorecard, a comprehensive database of U.S. colleges, noticeably left off certain conservative schools such as Hillsdale College and Grove City College.

Hillsdale College, a Michigan liberal arts college of 1,500 students, is ranked 67th by U.S. News and World Reports best national liberal arts college in the country, but was left off the Department of Education’s College Scorecard.

When Vivan Hughbanks, a reporter for Hillsdale’s college newspaper, called up the Department of Education for an explanation, she spoke with a spokeswoman who essentially said Hillsdale is not a real school.

“Hillsdale does offer bachelor’s degrees; however, because the plurality of degrees it awards are certificates, not two-year or four-year degrees, it was not included on the scorecard at launch,” Assistant Press Secretary Denise Horn said.

Whalen wants America to know that on this count, the Department of Education is just plain wrong.

Hillsdale offers four-year degrees in 31 disciplines and does not offer any certificates for credit. Despite Horn’s explanation, it appears the college was left off the list because it does not accept federal Title IV funding.

The school has used this refusal as part of its Conservative pitch, which allows it to ignore most federal regulations. Whalen says the Department of Education refused Hillsdale’s data submissions because they did not include information about race.

Whalen says the school, which was founded in 1844 by abolitionists, does not record data about race from its students because of its mission statement, which forbids discrimination.

“The college has attempted to report other data—financial information and retention rates, for example—but the Education Department won’t accept submissions that don’t include race-based tallies,” Whalen writes. “It’s not as though the scorecard requires every data point to be supplied. If other schools on the list didn’t report a piece of information the government sought, the scorecard simply says ‘unavailable.'”

The provost suggests that the administration could be purposefully keeping the schools off the list because of their ideology.

“A less charitable explanation for Hillsdale’s exclusion: The Obama administration’s Education Department wants to avoid informing parents and high-school students about a college that is known for its conservative outlook and its emphasis on a classical liberal-arts education,” Whalen writes.

Whalen ends the editorial with a zinger.

“I’m confident that students seeking such an education will find us. But if the Education Department means to create a useful website, then it should include all four-year colleges, not just the government’s financial dependents.”

Full disclosure: Casey Harper is a Hillsdale College alum.

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