College costs in Idaho are low compared with the rest of the county, but so is the graduation rate for some colleges, according to a new U.S. Department of Education effort to rate them.
The scorecard showed Boise State University on the high end of a the low range, with a typical net cost at $13,082. Net cost is what students pay after grants and scholarships. The graduation rate was low at 29.2 percent.
Boise State students' loan default rate was 7.8 percent, nearly half the national average of 13.4 percent. Student lending averaged $171 per month.
The Education Department released the interactive College Scorecard after President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night. According to a news release, the scorecard is part of "continued efforts to hold colleges accountable for cost, value and quality."
The scorecard measures five areas for each school: cost, graduation rate, loan default rate, median amount borrowed and employment prospects after graduation.
The University of Idaho also clocked in near the upper end of the low-cost range with a $13,253 annual cost of attendance.
The U of I had a 50.9 percent graduation rate and the lowest loan default rate of all four state universities and colleges in Idaho, 5.1 percent.
But its median borrowing rate was in the high end of the medium range at $225.64 per month.
Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston also registered in the high portion of the low range at $12,094 per year. Students there had a 14 percent loan default rate, slightly higher than the national average of 13.4 percent.
The college's graduation rate of 28 percent fell in the scorecard's low range, but the website also noted that 35.7 percent of the college's students transfer to other institutions to finish their education.
The median borrowing rate of LCSC students was in the low range, at $126.59 per month.
Idaho State University showed the lowest cost in Idaho at $11,400, with borrowing in the middle range at $184.13 a month. ISU's graduation rates was lower than Boise State's at 26 percent, and its loan default rate was 8.3 percent.
The U.S. Department of Education is still compiling data on employment prospects. Each school's scorecard noted that information would be posted as it becomes available.
In addition to the ability to look up individual colleges, the scorecard has an interactive function that allows students and their family members to choose among options based on their individual needs, including location, size, campus setting, and degree and major programs. The scorecard will then suggest schools based on those needs.
The College of Western Idaho, a two-year community college serving the Treasure Valley, was not included in the scorecard.
Idaho Statesman reporter Bill Roberts contributed.