The Department of Education has created a resource to provide students with more information than ever before as they make decisions about their postsecondary education options. As a result of a groundbreaking redesign of the College Scorecard, students can find accessible, customized, and relevant data on potential earnings and debt based on fields of study, graduation rates, and even apprenticeships for two-year programs, four-year degrees, certificate programs, and graduate programs.
“Every student is unique,” the Secretary explained. “What they study, as well as when, where, and how they choose to pursue their education will impact their future. Students know this instinctively. That’s why we work to deliver a product that is customizable and transparent, a tool that provides real information students need to make informed, personalized decisions about their education. The scorecard also ensures students can make apples-to-apples comparisons by providing the same data about all of the programs a student might be considering without regard to the type of school” (see press release and Secretary’s video about the scorecard).
For the first time, students have access to information on the median earnings and median debt of a school’s graduates, according to their chosen field of study. That means, for example, a student interested in studying engineering can now compare outcomes, such as first-year earnings and student loan debt, among engineering programs within a school and among those offered at other schools. Students will be able to see if a career and technical education program at a two-year institution might generate a higher return on investment than a traditional program at a four-year institution. Rather than having to rely on reputation-based rankings, the scorecard allows students to choose a program based on the outcomes of students who have already completed that program.
The scorecard also supplements prior updates to include all students, such as part-time and transfer students, to provide comprehensive data on graduation rates. With the click of a button, users can see the likelihood of graduation for students like them.
Additionally, the scorecard’s search function is more intuitive and dynamic than before, allowing prospective students to easily find and compare schools. Students and their parents can search for schools by acceptance rate, ACT/SAT scores, and location (with a “closer to me” feature) and compare up to 10 different school options at a time.
These updates follow improvements announced earlier this year, which involved expanding the scorecard to include information on 2,100 certificate-granting institutions. The Secretary has encouraged all students to “rethink education” and consider a range of education options that can lead to success upon graduation.
To learn more, watch these helpful videos introducing the scorecard’s updated features and taking users on a tour of the scorecard.
Source: US Department of Education