The U.S. Department of Education (DOE), in tabulating its “College Scorecard
” data, attributed a portion of the scorecard data from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz) as being from the University of Colorado Denver campus (CU Denver).
The data confusion stems from the 2004 consolidation of CU Denver and CU Anschutz (then called the CU Health Sciences Center) into the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus (legally named the University of Colorado Denver). The two previously separate entities were consolidated into a single institution that reports certain student data in a consolidated format.
Prior to consolidation, each campus had been assigned a separate ID number for federal financial aid disbursement and reporting. After 2004, the consolidated two-campus entity was assigned the ID number that had previously been associated with only the CU Health Sciences Center (now CU Anschutz).
The College Scorecard methodology looked at undergraduate students who were enrolled in college and receiving federal financial aid in 2001 and 2002, and measured their wages in 2011 and 2012. It appears that for the consolidated University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus, the College Scorecard used the federal ID number that applied only to CU Anschutz (formerly the CU Health Sciences Center). Thus, the College Scorecard used earnings data based on students who were financial aid recipients from CU Anschutz (formerly the Health Science Center) and labeled these students as having been CU Denver campus students. As a result, the earnings data reflect only a small number of undergraduate students in the health professions at CU Anschutz, and not the full range of undergraduates at CU Denver.
CU Denver is a large, comprehensive urban campus that enrolls 14,000 students, 10,000 of whom are undergraduates. CU Anschutz is a highly selective medical campus that enrolls 4,000 students in health professional programs, 500 of whom are undergraduates. Since the College Scorecard data looks only at earnings of CU Anschutz undergraduates, who studied in the health professions, their salaries are higher than what one would expect from the broader CU Denver student population.
CU Denver | Anschutz was not contacted for data verification for the College Scorecard or subsequent studies based on its data. CU Denver | Anschutz contacted DOE about the data confusion in November and DOE is looking into the matter.