Surprise, surprise. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Obama administration used bad data to justify a policy attack on for-profit colleges:
In early January the department disclosed that it had discovered a “coding error” that incorrectly computed College Scorecard repayment rates—that is, the percentage of borrowers who haven’t defaulted and have repaid at least one dollar of their loan principal. The department says the error “led to the undercounting of some borrowers who had not reduced their loan balances by at least one dollar.”
The department played down the mistake, but the new average three-year repayment rate has declined by 20 percentage points to 46%.
Oops! On the pretext of this information, the Obama administration forced only for-profit colleges to put warning notices on all of their promotional materials, while…
When proposing the regulation, the department claimed that its analysis of Scorecard data showed that a large number of for-profits have repayment rates below 50% while very few public or nonprofit schools do. The department said it would not be fair to “burden” public and nonprofit colleges with a regulation that would apply to so few. Yet based on the updated data, 60% of two-year public colleges and nearly all historically black institutions have repayment rates below 50%.
So was the bad data “alternative facts” or “fake news”? Ah, never mind. President Trump insists more people watched his inauguration than probably did. That’s what’s important.