The process of evaluating a particular college’s potential long term value just got a whole lot more transparent. Last week, the Department of Education debuted a new website called College Scorecard, which allows students to compare schools based tuition, financial aid, test scores, student retention, diversity, and graduate salaries.
Slate.com has an excellent article that goes into the history of this initiative (it started with President Obama wanting to rank colleges based on student outcomes, but has since morphed considerably).
With College Scorecard, you can choose a school and get an overview of how much a former student will earn 10 years after entering, the median amount of debt for undergraduate borrowers, and the annual average cost. Here are some of the stats for my alma mater, Southern Methodist University:
Of course, attending a specific college isn’t the sole or even the most important determinant in what a college graduate will earn years later. However, having this information, complete with loan amounts and average monthly payments, can only help students make a more informed decision on the college they ultimately choose to attend. While not perfect (students who have never borrowed federal financial aid aren’t included in the data), College Scorecard still an enormous step forward.